To the Class of 2020

While we wait to celebrate your graduation in person, let’s honor your time at CCA with sentiments from across our community, a showcase of your work, myriad notes on the moment, and a roll call of each new graduate. Congratulations! We are so proud of you.

Congratulations From Here

Celebrating an extraordinary group of students

This was supposed to be your moment. The tam and gown, the walk across the stage, the diploma, the photos with family, the parties with friends. Then the shutdowns came, the shelter-in-place orders, the cancellations. Sure, you had been training for surprises. You’d been learning how to navigate an unknowable future, practicing how to formulate creative solutions in the face of mounting challenges.

But this? This was sudden and unexpected. This was heartbreaking. You went home and prepared to close out your CCA journey with a click, instead of a cheer.

Then you remembered: Throughout your time in the Bay Area, the tenor of our world’s cultural conversations has shifted almost constantly. You’d already carried the weight of chaos and faced solving it head and heart first. So you decided this was a pause. Not an end.

You looked around and found ways to give your gifts to those who needed you most. You held one another from a distance. You made space for each other to rage, to laugh, to grieve. You gave your all, despite all that you’d lost. Through your resilience, you proved that it’s still your moment, and you will rise to any challenge again and again. We are in awe of you.

The pandemic may have changed everything, but it couldn’t change this:

You are the CCA Class of 2020.

And you are extraordinary.

Community Messages

With love from the Bay Area and beyond

We may be physically distanced, but the CCA community is more united than ever by our belief in the potential of art and design—and by our belief in one another.

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered from around the world to record video messages and write well wishes for the Class of 2020. Our intention is not to replace what was lost in a postponed commencement ceremony, but to shout, “You did it!” as loud as virtually possible. (And, as soon as humanly possible, we hope to say it all to you again in person.)

NOTE: As we collectively cheer your graduation online through videos and letters, the celebration continues! Your commemorative booklet, new alumni gift, and diploma will be mailed to you over the course of the summer.

A video compilation for reflection, celebration, and, of course, Zoom shenanigans. Special thanks to Lamont Lamar (BFA Film 2020) for his awesome work on this video tribute.

Notes on the Moment

Get to know CCA’s 113th graduating class

Celebrating 358 undergraduate and 181 graduate students

Graduation marks the culmination of hard work, persistence, drive, and dedication each student showed in order to earn their CCA degree and prepare for a lifetime of creative achievement.

In keeping with the college’s legacy and values, the class of 2020 is a diverse, talented, and passionate group. But, unlike anything we’ve seen before, these students experienced a close to their college careers that was completely unexpected, finishing their final coursework, making thesis presentations, and saying goodbye to their classmates and professors through a computer screen.

The kindness and resilience, thoughtfulness and resourcefulness, that these students brought to handling such a difficult situation will inspire the rest of us for many years to come.

Class of 2020 by the numbers

  • Youngest graduate: 20 years old
  • Oldest graduate: 56 years old
  • Countries represented: 30
  • U.S. states represented: 19
  • First-generation college students: 29%
As artists, writers, designers, architects—creative individuals coming out of this shared experience—the Class of 2020 will transform the world in a way that no other class could.”
Stephen Beal
CCA President

Class of 2020 Showcase

Featuring work from our core divisions

In light of the shelter-in-place orders to contain the spread of COVID–19, our traditional commencement exhibitions and events were reimagined for virtual presentation, interaction, and enjoyment. The showcase demonstrates an expansive range of work from across the college and represents our four core divisions: Architecture, Design, Fine Arts, and Humanities + Sciences.

Divisional Curator’s Picks

A faculty curator from each division chose students to receive special recognition for their contributions to the Class of 2020 Showcase. These Curator’s Picks demonstrate outstanding work in the discipline.

Virtual events and happenings

Experience some of our end-of-year events, modified for remote viewing, as well as new instances inspired by the circumstances.

Bachelor’s Degree Candidates

Awarding Bachelors of Architecture, Bachelors of Arts, and Bachelors of Fine Arts


Carl Edward Mongan

“We will not return to normal after this. And that’s good. Don’t just fill those cracks. Build on top of them. Remember why you started this journey in the first place. Acknowledge that there is humanity in the act of making. We use our varying perspectives and backgrounds to interpret that human experience. As artist-citizens, we use our collective creativity to build a better, more equitable world. Your work can solve a problem, or pose a new question. It’s more important now than ever that you take care of your health—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Stop pulling all-nighters—you’ve graduated. Drink some tea, wash your face, draw an inchworm wearing a cowboy hat—do what you need to take care of yourself. And remember that you have a community of artists to turn to when that alumni life gets tough. … United in tradition, we now craft the future.”

— Carl Edward Mongan (BFA Animation 2020), Undergraduate Student Speaker

Master’s Degree Candidates

Awarding Masters of Architecture, Masters of Advanced Architectural Design, Masters of Arts, Masters of Fine Arts, Masters of Business Administration, and Masters of Design


Santino Gonzales

“The thing I have loved most about my graduate experience is getting to meet all the wonderful people that are now a part of my life, forever. The conversations with instructors and friends, the critiques, the vulnerability that we all share in our work—all of this has value beyond capital. As times are tough, I hope we can all continue to recognize the power in making work outside of this system. We must remember what we are inspired by; what stories we haven’t told; and how we can recognize the past, present, and future through our individual voices. These are the things that we excel at, and as we adapt to this changing environment, our roles as artists will change and we cannot forget about the amazing things we have to share with one another.”

— Santino Gonzales (MFA Fine Arts 2020), Graduate Student Speaker

Social Media Spotlights

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July 14, 2020

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard the painful experiences of discrimination that members of our community have faced and we’re focused on what we can do to make our campus safe and actively anti-racist. Improving the process for reporting, acknowledging, and responding to student concerns is one of our top priorities, and these testimonials will inform this process. As we develop next steps and take action, we will continue to keep the community informed.?

For those who are struggling, we want you to know that we see you and we hear you. If you would like to consult with a counselor or are seeking mental health resources during this time, below are services that are available to both students and non-students.

For current CCA students, the ?24/7? mental health crisis hotline is ?510.594.5099?. Tele-health appointments are also available ?through July 31? for enrolled students in California:

The national suicide hotline is a resource available to all: or 1.800.273.TALK (8255). For California residents, the state offers a peer-to-peer mental health line that is available ?24/7?, with the caveat that the folks who are on the line are well trained but not mental health professionals: or ?1.855.845.7415?. CCA’s counseling office also offers referrals to mental health professionals in the Bay Area for non-urgent support. The office’s main voicemail is ?510.594.3670? to request a referral.

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July 13, 2020

Last week, Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit to reverse the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Department of Homeland Security guidelines on international students. We’ve joined the legal fight by signing an amicus brief that includes other members of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design.?
Our international students are an essential part of the CCA community and we will do everything possible to support them.

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July 9, 2020

The misguided and capricious U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy for international students on F-1 visas has created undue anxiety for our students, their families, and our entire community at a time when we are already facing extraordinary challenges. We find ICE’s actions to be alarming, cruel, and counter to the values we hold as an institution that derives immeasurable benefit from the creativity, innovation, and diversity of ideas, skills, and experiences that our international students—more than one third of our student body—bring to our campus.?
International Student Affairs and Programs (ISAP) staff has contacted all affected students and is working closely with them to address their concerns and ensure they are able to maintain their non-immigrant status. Any international student who wants to be in the U.S. in the fall 2020 semester will have the option of at least one in-person/hybrid class as the newly announced policy requires. For current information on maintaining F-1 status at CCA, visit @ccaisap Portal page at

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July 3, 2020

Starting today, July 3, 80 artists are joining together to launch @inplainsightmap, a stunning effort to make visible the injustices of the largest immigration detention system in the world.

In Plain Sight’s collective of artists, including #CCArts Dean @tt_takemoto and alum @hankwillisthomas, represent an array of ages, gender presentations and subjective lived experiences that have come together in solidarity to help abolish immigrant detention. ICE detention is the practice of incarcerating immigrants–from those who have just arrived to those who’ve lived in the U.S. for years–while they await a determination of their status or potential deportation. Various reports detail horrifying conditions. The federal government wastes more than $25 billion each year on ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to profile, detain and deport immigrants.

*Join* the movement?#FreeThemAll?Campaign +?#AbolishIce.
*Donate* to these local bond funds:? in bio)
*Get to know* organizations that serve the immigrant community including:
@migrantfreedom?@detentionwatch?@aclu_socal?@haitianbridge?@conmijente?@familiatqlm?@the_ilrc?@maketheroadnj?@raicestexas?@carecen_la?@culturestrike?@the_ilrc?@clinica_romero?@laresistencianw?@daylaborernetwork @elrescate_org?@_sale
#XMap #InPlainSight #FreeThemAll #AbolishICE #lookup #DefundHate #HomeisHere #HeretoStay #WithDACA #sisepuede #prisonindustrialcomplex
#resist #closethecamps
Video credits: Editor: @grahamkolbeins + Music: @dorianwoodmusic

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