By Nancy Yoho
VP of Geographic Information Systems, Rand McNally (retired)
Alumna of CSU Long Beach
The view from the commencement platform is extraordinary. A sea of black bachelor’s robes with gold lined stoles stretches out for the length of a sports field. In the front are the faculty and master’s graduates with their colorful hoods. Punctuating the view of square mortar boards is the occasional splash of neon and glitter. The messages on the caps are always positive – a celebration of effort, family, mentors and friends mixed with aspirations for the future. Surrounding this core of faculty and graduates are thousands of supporters here to cheer on their grad.
Steve, my husband, and Dan, my son, were among that 2013 commencement crowd. Though I was a commencement speaker, Steve and Dan weren’t there to see me. I graduated from CSU Long Beach long ago. In fact, they both graduated from The Beach in years past as well. This time, graduation in the Yoho family was about my daughter Alison joining our alumni ranks.
It is little surprise that CSULB continues to play such a significant role in our family life. The Geography Department prepared me to secure that first job out of college with Thomas Bros., which was later acquired by Rand McNally. I was able to advance in that company, eventually becoming Vice President of Geographic Information Systems, because of the tremendous foundation The Beach provided. Steve achieved great success with his business administration degree from CSULB and now returns regularly as a mentor for the College of Business.
Dan also earned a CSULB Geography degree and was hired immediately after graduation to work with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. We all have great confidence in Alison’s future as she pursues a career in Geographic Information Science with a focus on remote sensing.
While these economic successes were all made possible by our university education, it is important to remember those less tangible benefits. Maturity develops in college. Students gain a personal definition of who they are. This helps bring life’s next steps into focus.
Many of these benefits come from the classroom, but often other sources are equally important. Both Dan and Alison worked on campus. Alison probably spent the most time of any of us on campus, engaged in various activities including an Ultimate Frisbee team – a source of many great friendships.
Getting involved as alumni has been a natural extension of the great connection we had with the university when we were students. It is always an honor and pleasure to be invited to stand in front of the new graduates and represent the Alumni Association. I believe every word when I tell them of the lifetime benefit of their degree and the good that they will bring into the world. I hope to see each graduate stay connected with the university, because together we are strong.