California State University, Stanislaus honored more than 2,500 graduating students during three commencement ceremonies over the past two days, highlighting the impact the university has on the region’s students and the impact of its graduates on the region.
A pair of morning ceremonies on Thursday and Friday each recognized more than 950 students receiving undergraduate degrees, while an additional 600 students eligible for graduate degrees — including doctoral and master’s degrees, as well as teaching credentials — took part in a Thursday evening ceremony.
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President Joseph F. Sheley, in his remarks during this morning’s undergraduate ceremony, began by highlighting the many different Central Valley communities represented in the Class of 2014 at CSU Stanislaus — from Turlock and Modesto to Crows Landing and Winton.
“This is a campus that holds a whole region’s dreams,” Sheley said. “The region comes together right here and speaks with a single voice about our shared interests and about the pride we have and the hope we place in our graduates.”
Thursday’s morning ceremony recognized undergraduate students from the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Education. Political science graduate and student speaker Ana Cortez recalled her childhood as the daughter of farmworkers, and remarked at the opportunity she now has to pursue her goal of becoming a judge.
“CSU Stanislaus has given me the privilege of being the first of my family to graduate college and the confidence that I can accomplish my dream,” Cortez told her fellow graduates. “We have grown, explored and learned together, and now we are here.”
Jessie Guerrero, receiving her Doctorate of Education, addressed her fellow doctoral, master’s and credential graduates during the Thursday evening ceremony.
“All of us will use our accumulated knowledge, experiences, expertise and skills in one way or another during the next phase of our lives and steps of our careers,” Guerrero said. “Whatever decisions we choose to make, we recognize that perseverance and hard work pay off, and the high-quality, rigorous education programs we have completed have prepared us well to be leaders.”
Nursing student Kristi Carson gave the student remarks during this morning’s ceremony, which featured bachelor’s degree recipients from the College of Business Administration and the College of Science. Carson extended thanks to the many friends, family members and other supporters in attendance, crediting them for the greater impact the Class of 2014 will have on the Central Valley.
“Even now, as we move beyond this day, beyond this accomplishment, and in the spirit of this distinguished university, we set about making the greatest possible contribution to our community,” Carson said. “Each time we reach a hand out to help another, it will forever be an extension of your hands, reaching out to help us. It is for this honor that we will be forever grateful.”
Sheley continued a tradition he began last year, honoring the Golden Grads who graduated 50 years prior. Four members of the Class of 1964 were on hand to take part in the undergraduate ceremonies: Hannah Mary Giesbrecht Hoyt, Etta Weaver, Marita McElvain and James Toepfer.
In addition to the conferring of degrees, a number of awards were presented during the commencement ceremonies:
- The award for Outstanding Professor for 2014 was presented to Nancy Burroughs, Professor of Communications Studies.
- The J. Burton Vasche Award, presented to the graduate who displays the highest standards of leadership, service and scholarship throughout his or her college years, was awarded to communications studies major Jared Tumazi.
- The Geiger-Metzger Award, presented to the graduating student with the highest undergraduate grade-point average in courses completed at CSU Stanislaus, was awarded to liberal studies major Dora Dominguez.