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A Surprise Engagement at Commencement

Grad Proposes Where it all Began for a Cal State Fullerton Couple
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Alexis Chaires and Alexis Ibarra share the same first name, and after this week, they will share a lifetime.

The Cal State Fullerton 2020 graduates professed their love for each other when Ibarra dropped to one knee Saturday in front of the university’s promenade entrance and asked Chaires to marry him — as family and friends cheered.

The couple shared their special moment on social media.

After briefly meeting at Don Lugo High School in Chino, Chaires and Ibarra unknowingly registered for the same human communications studies class their first semester at Cal State Fullerton. They got to know each other and then realized they were a perfect match.

Chaires earned a bachelor’s degree in health science and Ibarra, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The couple joined more than 3,000 alumni who returned to campus June 12 to participate in an in-person stage walk.

During last year’s commencement ceremony, held virtually due to the pandemic, President Fram Virjee promised that the Class of 2020 would have their moment on stage, if possible.

“We are so grateful that we got to experience our college years at CSUF together and create wonderful memories, which is why he decided to propose on campus — the place where it all began,” Chaires said.

About Cal State Fullerton: The largest university in the CSU and the only campus in Orange County, Cal State Fullerton offers 110 degree programs, and Division 1 athletics. Recognized as a national model for supporting student success, CSUF excels with innovative, high-impact educational practices, including faculty-student collaborative research, study abroad and competitive internships. Our vibrant and diverse campus is a primary driver of workforce and economic development in the region. CSUF is a top public university known for its success in supporting first-generation and underrepresented students, and preparing all students to become leaders in the global marketplace. Our It Takes a Titan campaign, a five-year $200 million comprehensive fundraising initiative, prioritizes investments in academic innovation, student empowerment, campus transformation and community enrichment. Visit fullerton.edu.

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Media Contact:
Cerise Valenzuela Metzger, Associate Director of Media Services, 657-278-4856, cmetzger@fullerton.edu
Chi-Chung Keung, Director of Media Services, 657-278-8487, ckeung@fullerton.edu

Photo Caption:
Titan Alexis Ibarra dropped to one knee in front of Cal State Fullerton’s promenade entrance and asked his classmate and girlfriend, Alexis Chaires, to marry him. The couple joined more than 3,000 Class of 2020 alumni who returned to campus June 12 to participate in an in-person stage walk.