CSU Voices and Views

Posts tagged with Graduation

Supporting SDSU from Beginning to End

By Kathy Brown
Associate Director of Buying, SDSU Bookstore
Aztec Shops, San Diego State University

The SDSU Bookstore staff

The SDSU Bookstore staff.
(left to right) Ambre Dorsett, Laura White, Kathy Brown, Meghan Smith, Nancy Stevens, Kelly Morlock, Ben Compton

Commencement season is here! As seniors prepare for graduation and underclassmen wrap up their spring semester classes, my staff and I at The SDSU Bookstore are eager to assist with everyone’s end of the school year needs. Commencement season may be one of the busiest times of the year at San Diego State University, but in the heart of the chaos, the bookstore remains the rock of the campus.

Many people think of the campus bookstore as just that – a store on campus that sells and rents books. While that may be the core of its existence, The SDSU Bookstore takes pride in serving the entire campus community on various needs throughout the school year, including graduation. More …

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CSU Stanislaus Reconnects With ‘Golden Grads’

By Lisa McMullen
Director of Alumni Relations
CSU Stanislaus

Lisa McMullen

Lisa McMullen

The memory of graduation day, walking across the stage to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance with family members in attendance, is one graduates hold close for years after commencement. The feeling that accompanies the great accomplishment of obtaining a college degree ranks high with other significant lifetime achievements.

At CSU Stanislaus, we are welcoming our esteemed alumni and their families back to our beautiful campus — for some, a campus that was not yet fully developed at the time of their graduation. This year, alumni from the Class of 1964 will remember their graduation day as our Golden Grads, with an invitation to be recognized by President Joseph F. Sheley at our commencement ceremonies.
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Inspiring Future Generations

Dr. Joely Proudfit (Luiseño)
Director, California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center
CSU San Marcos Director of Native American Academic Strategic Planning and Native Studies

Graduating students and tribal leaders with Proudfit (fourth from left) and CSUSM President Karen Haynes

Graduating students and tribal leaders with Proudfit (fourth from left) and CSUSM President Karen Haynes

This is my sixth year at Cal State San Marcos, both as a professor and as the coordinator of the American Indian Honoring Ceremony. This year’s ceremony was gratifying for me because I am proud to have seen the recruitment and retention levels of American Indian students increase over the last six years; but particularly special because I have come to advise and know well many of the graduates. More …

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Today We Make History

By Curtis Lee Ortega, Jr.
Vice President, United Student Pride
Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, Class of 2014
Fresno State

Curtis Lee Ortega, Jr.

Curtis Lee Ortega, Jr.

Today, 17 Fresno State students will make history with our university’s inaugural Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Commencement Celebration.

I am the chairperson of the committee that made this event a reality. I am honored and proud to be among those first 17 participating in our celebration.

This milestone represents a major step in our personal lives and the broader community. Fresno State prides itself on discovery, diversity and distinction and the presence of an LGBTQ graduation ceremony fittingly underscores that.

This celebration is a dream I pursued based on my own personal history. With poor grades and delinquent behavior, I was almost a high school dropout. Fortunately, I was accepted to a school that offered independent studies and was able to graduate even though I was heckled throughout my high school years for being openly gay. There was even heckling when they announced my name at the graduation ceremony. 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 …


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 …


Mother and Daughter Graduation Day

By Christine N. Gordon
Educational Counselor, Writer, Youth Advocate
Alumna of CSU San Bernardino

On April 7, 2009, instead of attending the first class of CSU San Bernardino’s counseling and guidance program, I was in ICU recovering from cancer surgery. The doctors had removed the salivary gland cancer, the surrounding tissues, part of my tongue, my right tonsil, the gums along my lower right molars, thirty lymph nodes, and my submandibular salivary gland. Along with the usual IV, I had a nose tube, and a drain next to the-bride-of-Frankenstein-looking staples that surrounded more than half my neck. And I was lucky. The cancer had not spread. I could talk, smile, swallow, and breathe. And I could go to school.
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A Thriving Mission

By Alejandro Holguin
Social Science Major, History Minor
Sacramento State

Alejandro Holguin at Sacramento State

Alejandro Holguin at Sacramento State

When people talk about the difference between military and civilian life, the conversation is usually along the lines of discipline, training and culture.  That is probably true, but the biggest difference to me after my deployment in Iraq was the intensity.  Military service, especially when you are in a warzone, is profound.  It’s not just the life and death situations, it’s everything that goes into and supports the people in the field.  Every action is critical, every task is important and the people that surround you are all working to achieve the same mission.

Upon my return from Iraq I came home to a blessed and loving family of my wife and two (as of eight weeks ago) daughters.  Yet, even in the best of home environments, there is a need to reconnect family relationships, which can be difficult. More …

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