USC President Caslen welcomes new alumni of ‘University of California’ at graduation

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University of South Carolina President Robert “Bob” Caslen called graduates at a Friday commencement ceremony “the newest alumni from the University of California.”

“It’s now my honor and privilege to officially congratulate you as the newest alumni from the University of California,” Caslen said at the end of a nearly three hour ceremony.

The moment, which was caught on video and recorded by USC, is circulating on social media.

Some in the graduating class laughed. Others at the ceremony jeered. One person on a video can be heard saying “What?” in a confused tone. The university president apologized seconds later and corrected himself after someone on the stage let him know about the error.

Caslen, an Army general, told the gathering “I owe you pushups” after using the incorrect name.

The State has reached out to the university for a comment.

The 2021 Class of USC has had graduation activities all week, culminating in Friday evening’s commencement. Another commencement occurred on Saturday morning and another is planned for Saturday evening.

USC has over 35,000 students.

A California school and the University of South Carolina have clashed in the past. In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determined the term “USC” belonged to the University of Southern California. Carolina sued, but the courts sided with Southern California, according to an article from the Los Angeles Times.