CSU Voices and Views

We’ll miss you, Dr. Mehas

By Dr. Joseph I. Castro
President, Fresno State

President Castro looks on as Trustee Mehas addresses a Fresno State gathering

President Castro looks on as Trustee Mehas addresses a Fresno State gathering

We here at Fresno State are mourning the loss of one of our most distinguished alums, Dr. Peter G. Mehas, who dedicated his life to education at all levels. Pete was just days from his 74th birthday when he passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 27.

Pete was a loyal Bulldogs supporter throughout his life. After transferring from Fresno City College, he was a member of the undefeated 1961 Fresno State football team. Pete started his career as a teacher in Fresno and worked in various educational positions on the local, state and national levels. Since 2007, he served as a member of the California State University Board of Trustees.
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A New Perspective

By Erin Enguero
CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement
Trustee William Hauck Scholar
Kinesiology Student at San José State

Erin Enguero at the Salzburg Global Seminar

Erin Enguero at the Salzburg Global Seminar

Every time one embarks upon a new adventure, the world changes: one’s perspective, knowledge, and most poignantly, identity. Whether a particular experience is a celebrated success, or the latest challenge overcome, every moment in our lives teaches a valuable lesson that will affect our future choices and decisions, especially in the quest for a higher education. After becoming the CSU trustees’ first hard of hearing awardee in 2012, I met many peers that helped me realize that human beings have an incredible capacity for resilience. Despite the drawbacks we must overcome, we still have the courage to move forward and go beyond expected boundaries to find meaning in our lives by making a difference.  More …

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From Baseball Camp to College

By Carol Kiliany
IT Project Manager, CSU Chancellor’s Office
CSU Fullerton Alumna

Carol Kiliany’s son, David Garcia, with Dirtbag Camp coach Juan Favela (Cal State Long Beach graduate and former baseball player) whom David and the other kids call Big Bird

Carol Kiliany’s son, David Garcia, with Dirtbag Camp coach Juan Favela (Cal State Long Beach graduate and former baseball player) whom David and the other kids call Big Bird

My son, David, is getting a major boost toward college from current and former Cal State Long Beach student athletes who serve as coaches for youth learning the fundamentals of baseball. His love of the sport provides a gateway to developing connections and skills that will help him succeed in life.

Out on the field with David and others participating in the university’s Dirtbag Camp, the student athletes (coaches) often engage as peers. Yet, they are more than peers in critical ways. They are an example of what a young adult should be – someone who sets goals and seeks accomplishments on and off the field. They teach patience, discipline and teamwork in ways that few classroom exercises ever could. More …

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Knowing the Signs

By Marny Fern
Director, Patient Care Services
Doctors Medical Center, Modesto
Alumna of CSU Stanislaus (BSN and MSN)

Marny Fern (right) helped create a simple checklist to more quickly recognize sepsis

Marny Fern (right) helped create a simple checklist to more quickly recognize sepsis

As with many people who go into health professions, my inspiration to become a nurse came from witnessing the care that others provided a loved one. I saw good things and bad things in my grandmother’s care when she was hospitalized. I learned by watching the nurses and putting those early lessons into practice as a portion of my grandmother’s home care became my responsibility.

Years later, a 42-year-old woman came into the emergency room during my shift as a staff nurse. Her vague and obscure symptoms were not immediately identified as sepsis – a serious condition resulting from the body’s immune response to a bloodstream infection. This patient is among the condition’s casualties. More …

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Incredible Dreamers

By Dr. Terry Jones
Professor Emeritus of Social Work
Cal State East Bay

Dr. Terry Jones in commencement regalia

Dr. Terry Jones in commencement regalia

I can count on one hand the commencements missed in my 40 years at Cal State East Bay. It isn’t difficult to imagine being on a walker in my 90s and still attending commencement in full academic regalia. Even semi-retired, it is hard to stop participating in something that is both a rite of passage and reaffirmation of society’s highest principles.

There is this overwhelming feeling of joy at commencement. Yes, some of that is the relief of graduates who finished final tests or papers to earn their degrees – but, what I see is the lights turn on for kids in the audience as they watch a mother, brother or cousin cheered across the stage. The university is no longer abstract or distant. It is a place explored by the familiar footsteps of today’s graduates. First-generation college students dream not just for themselves, but for the family and friends that will follow. More …

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A Solid Foundation

By Nancy Yoho
VP of Geographic Information Systems, Rand McNally (retired)
Alumna of CSU Long Beach
 

Commencement 2013 at CSU Long Beach – from left to right: Steve, Nancy, Alison and Dan Yoho

Commencement 2013 at CSU Long Beach – from left to right: Steve, Nancy, Alison and Dan Yoho

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.
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Life’s Transitions

By Ian Ruddell
Chico State 2013 Graduate
CSU Student Trustee, 2011-2013
Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Scholar, 2010

Commencement at Chico State – from left to right: CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bob Linscheid

Commencement at Chico State – from left to right: CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bob Linscheid

Embracing Tim White and Bob Linscheid after receiving my bachelor’s degree, it hit me that this commencement at Chico State was my last official event as a California State University student and as a trustee. This was the end of an extraordinary experience and the beginning of a new journey.

Transitions always involve emotional reflection on growth, change, relationships lost and friends gained. My time at Chico State and in the CSU captured a period of personal realization, growth and change. I am leaving a lot of who I once was behind, including an identity and name.

Coming out to the CSU Board of Trustees as transgender, undergoing transition from female to male, was nerve-racking. In retrospect, their embracing support was a natural extension of the welcome they had extended me since my appointment. I also knew I had an ally in Chancellor White.

As an activist advocating for gender and sexual equity at Chico State and in systemwide student government, publicly sharing this life-changing moment was the logical decision as well as an educational opportunity for those around me. More …

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The Campus at Its Best

By Toby A. Bushee
Director, Events and Donor Stewardship
CSU Dominguez Hills

Toby Bushee with Public Administration graduates Samantha Hernandez (left) and Felicia Hernandez (right)

Bushee with Public Administration graduates Samantha Hernandez (left) and Felicia Hernandez (right)

Commencement at CSU Dominguez Hills is not one event. It isn’t even the five distinct culmination ceremonies with more than 3,000 graduates in cap and gown crossing the platform to shake the president’s hand and the nearly 30,000 guests who cheer them on as their names are called. Commencement is 37 events in 30 days – a hive of activity that covers the entire campus.

And it takes nearly the entire campus to pull it off each year. Staff members keep order in the midst of that activity, many committing countless hours of their own time because they understand the importance of this occasion for our graduates. From cleaning buildings and grounds to setting up rooms and arranging chairs, from managing technology and printing programs to directing traffic and redirecting lost guests, and making sure graduates know exactly what they need to do when they enter the stadium, they ensure a perfect experience, because while this is each graduate’s big moment, it is our big moment too. It is our chance to show the campus at its best and to provide a send-off for our graduates that is positive and meaningful, a memory held for a lifetime. More …

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Student Voices Echo Through the Halls of Government

By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs

In April, the California State Student Association filled the halls of government in Sacramento with hundreds of student voices. The California Higher Education Student Summit is dedicated to equipping students with the tools to be strong leaders and advocates for their peers. Last month’s CHESS was the 18th time students gathered in the state capitol for this purpose.
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Learn by Doing

By Rebecca Mieliwocki
Seventh Grade English Teacher
at Luther Burbank Middle School
National Teacher of the Year, 2012
Alumna of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and CSU Northridge

Mieliwocki is honored by the CSU Alumni Council and Board of Trustees on March 20, 2013. From left to right: Alumni Council President Guy Heston, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, CSU Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison, Rebecca Mieliwocki and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

Mieliwocki is honored by the CSU Alumni Council and Board of Trustees on March 20, 2013. From left to right: Alumni Council President Guy Heston, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, CSU Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison, Rebecca Mieliwocki and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

The central premise of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is “learn by doing.” This principle permeates every academic course and every student activity. It has also become my motto in life.

In high school, I wanted to attend Cal Poly to become an architect. That program was highly impacted, so I went into Speech Communication instead. It turns out that was a perfect major for me and I loved the program. I went from earning a Speech Communication bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly to completing a credential program at CSU Northridge.

As many do, I found a different path forward in life than what I planned as a child. I am thankful that the education I received in those early years and at the university prepared me to go in many different directions. I try to keep that in mind when I’m preparing my own students. More …

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