Commencement Moments

There are more than a million moments that make each commencement ceremony special — the CSU has captured a few. See a collection of images from the commencement ceremonies in the Photo Gallery. Learn what graduates are saying about commencement in the social media sphere in Stories From Graduation. Gain pearls of wisdom from several graduation speakers by reading the Commencement Quotes.

Belva Davis

“As you leave here and move out into the broader world of opportunity. Think of those, who fought for the funds that made this campus the jewel it is today. Think of those who fought to make what is taught here more inclusive; think of the talented teachers who chose to invest their intellect in you instead of looking for the highest paying job. It is time to affirm your belief in the promise of America.”
Belva Davis | San Francisco State Keynote Speaker, Journalist at San Francisco State

Jamienne Studley

“We are all on a journey. We inherit a road begun by others, and what we do in our time widens and smooths the path on that road.”
Jamienne Studley | CSU Domniguez Hills Keynote Speaker, Acting Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education at CSU Dominguez Hills

Cecilia Muñoz


“You have learned a lot, but you don’t know everything yet. And sometimes knowing what you don’t know is a very powerful thing.

For example, when you’re in the Oval Office briefing the President and he asks you something point blank, and you don’t know the answer – at that very moment you have a couple of choices.You can: One, make up an answer and hope that it doesn’t inadvertently lead to major crisis or economic collapse or, two, tell the President you don’t have the answer for him, but that you’ll get it right away.I have chosen No. 2. And as you start your professional life, I would encourage you to do the same. Knowing what you don’t know, and filling those gaps by asking questions will get you a lot farther than faking answers.”
Cecilia Muñoz| CSU Monterey Bay Keynote Speaker, Adviser to President Obama and Director of the Domestic Policy Councilat CSU Monterey Bay

Rong Wang

“This is my own story, and today is the very first time that I have ever shared my life story in public. … I was born in China, at the time when my parents were in deep political trouble. As a child, I spent part of my early years in political confinements, labor camps, or home restriction. I wanted to go to school so much that I tried to attend school with my baby sister on my back. … But I stayed on my trajectory because of my childhood yearning. My mother was unable to finish 5th grade and father couldn’t finish 8th grade. For someone with my background, desire shaped me. So pay attention to YOUR desire.”
Rong Wang| San Francisco State Keynote Speaker, Researcher at University of California, San Francisco at San Francisco State

Dan Beckerman

Dan Beckerman
“One of the biggest lessons in life I’ve learned from my career is the best things that have happened to me have been the result of getting out of my comfort zone and taking a risk…My unconventional piece of advice for you is when an opportunity comes up that makes you uncomfortable, take a shot it anyway.”
Dan Beckerman | CSU Domniguez Hills Keynote Speaker, President and Chief Executive Officer for AEG at CSU Dominguez Hills

John Farrer, CSU Bakersfield

John Farrer CSU Bakersfield today announced that it will award its highest honor to John Farrer, Music Director of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Farrer will receive only the second Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts to be awarded by the university, the first having gone to Merle Haggard in 2013. The honorary degree will be conferred during the spring commencement ceremony on Friday, June 13th at 7am at the CSUB Amphitheater. Read more about Farrer.

Yoshie Akiba, CSU East Bay

Yoshie Akiba
CSU East Bay will award an honorary doctoral degree to Yoshie Akiba, a community activist and owner of Yoshi’s jazz clubs and restaurants in San Francisco and Oakland. Akiba, an innovative and successful entrepreneur in the restaurant and music industries, has helped create one of the world’s most respected jazz clubs while building Yoshi’s as one of the Bay Area’s premier locations for food and entertainment. Akiba is a co-founder of 510akland, which provides Oakland public school students with access to programs, resources, supplies, instruction, mentoring and training in music and the arts. Read more about Akiba.