California State University, San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus will celebrate its annual commencement ceremony today, Thursday, June 14, kicking off the university’s graduation celebrations for the Class of 2018.

The 28th annual ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage. About 273 graduates will participate in the ceremony. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus website.

This year’s candidates, many of whom are first-generation college students, include undergraduate and graduate students who will be joined by university administrators, faculty, California State University trustees and community leaders.

Julia I. Lopez, one of California’s most impactful philanthropists and foundation leaders, will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony.

Special awards will be given to Kaela A. Bonafede for Outstanding Undergraduate Student and Timothy Castro for Outstanding Graduate Student.

Bonafede, who lives in Bermuda Dunes, will receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and is graduating with honors.

Castro, who lives in Cathedral City, will receive a master’s degree in business administration, with a management concentration, and is graduating with honors.

All three honorees will speak at the ceremony.

Also, the campus will celebrate the graduation of a husband and wife, Luis and Wendy Castaneira. The Castaneiras are both first-generation college students, have been together for 11 years and have four children.

Both will receive their bachelor’s degrees. Luis will receive a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is graduating cum laude, with university and departmental honors. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

Wendy will receive a bachelor’s degree in nursing and is graduating cum laude, with university and departmental honors as well. She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau-Rho Beta Nursing Honor Society, the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and the National Student Nurses Association. She is a community engagement and leadership award recipient, a presidential volunteer award recipient, a Rogers Scholar and vice president of the Coyote Student Nurses of the Desert.

On Saturday, June 16, the festivities will move to Ontario’s Citizen’s Business Bank Arena, when the university will host commencement ceremonies for its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at 8 a.m.; the College of Natural Sciences at noon; College of Arts and Letters and the College of Education at 4 p.m.; and the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration at 8 p.m.

For more information about the June 2018 graduations, visit the CSUSB Commencement website or contact the Office of Special Events and Guest Services at (909) 537-7360.

For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the campus’ Office of Public Affairs at or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the campus website at

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit