Speakers Reflect on Resilience and Encourage Graduates from the College of Business Administration to Embrace the Future
May 31, 2024

Stanislaus State concluded its week-long celebration of the Class of 2024 on Friday, May 31, with a spirited ceremony honoring graduates from the College of Business Administration during the University’s 64th Commencement.

Family members, friends, faculty, staff and guests all gathered inside the University’s Amphitheater to applaud graduates for their achievements as they launch into promising futures.

Friday’s ceremony featured 482 candidates for bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Business Administration. Overall, Stanislaus State recognized 3,371 graduates, 322 credential recipients and hosted more than 20,000 guests across four ceremonies.

Excited cheers and applause echoed through the Amphitheater as graduates entered the venue in their caps and gowns, honoring the pivotal milestone.

Cassandra Drake
Assistant Professor Cassandra Drake

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rich Ogle served as the emcee for all four ceremonies, and Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies Cassandra Drake delivered greetings from the faculty. She congratulated graduates and praised their tenacity.

“Graduates, Commencement is a time to celebrate,” she said. “You have overcome insurmountable challenges and proven yourself to be more than worthy of the title you will be granted here today.”

Drake encouraged graduates to reflect on the persistence and resilience they demonstrated during the past several years.

“The global pandemic of 2020 set in motion changes and challenges that none of us could have ever imagined we would have to confront in our lifetimes,” Drake said. “We made it work, and you rose to the occasion.

“You are the heart of this campus, our pulse and the reason we are all here,” she continued. “You are truly Warriors — you made it through and because of you, so did we. You are Central Valley strong. You are a graduate, and you will always be a Warrior.”

During her final Commencement address, Interim President Sue Borrego, who joined the University last August, fondly reflected on her time at the University and in the Central Valley.

“It has been a privilege to be a member of this community,” Borrego said. “From Warrior Wednesdays to theatre productions, athletics events to ASI and alumni programs. Celebrating student and faculty awards and successes. Visiting the observatory to view the Super Moon...and so much more. It’s hard to believe I have been here less than a year!”

She urged graduates to carry their Warrior Spirit forward into their future endeavors, and she emphasized the importance of their roles in shaping a better world.

“I am aware that we are living in tumultuous times, and more than ever we need communities that are compassionate and courageous,” Borrego said. “Changing the world is about daily acts of compassion and courage.

student speaker Iris Arellano
Student Speaker Iris Arellano

“The exchange you have in the hallway with a peer or colleague; an interaction you have with a sibling; doing the right thing in difficult moments; standing with someone who may have lost hope. It is these day-to-day interactions that can be transformational, that do change the world.

“Whatever you do, whoever you are, the active, everyday choice of being a compassionate, courageous person in the world is changing the world.”

During her speech, student speaker Iris Arellano shared a poignant story about her mother’s garden, drawing a powerful parallel between the nurturing of plants and the growth of the graduates.

“Whatever you water, grows,” she said, emphasizing that the effort, time and dedication we invest in our lives are what enable us to flourish.

Arellano spoke of the sacrifices often made by students’ families, particularly those who immigrated to the United States in search of better opportunities for their children. Arellano, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, likened their perseverance and hard work to that of diligent gardeners, planting the seeds of the future.

Reflecting on the transformative power of education, Arellano compared it to nutrients that fuel and sustain growth.

“Education, like water, has been the lifeblood of our journey — a source of nourishment and sustenance that has allowed us to flourish and thrive,” she said.

She called upon her fellow graduates to honor the sacrifices made on their behalf by striving for excellence, leading with integrity and uplifting those around them.

“You are the heart of this campus, our pulse and the reason we are all here. You are truly Warriors — you made it through and because of you, so did we. You are Central Valley strong. You are a graduate, and you will always be a Warrior.”

- Cassandra Drake, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies

“Congratulations, Class of 2024. There is so much growth that awaits us in our future endeavors, our journey is just beginning.”

Toward the end of the ceremony, just before Borrego returned to the podium for the conferral of degrees, Provost Ogle took a moment to thank her for her service on behalf of the University.

“As President Borrego said earlier in her remarks, she has been with us for a glorious year,” he said as Borrego joined him at the podium.

“It’s been a fast year. It has been fun. It has been challenging. We have learned together. We have laughed together. She truly loves students and what we’re here for, and that is your success,” he said.

Borrego expressed heartfelt gratitude to the graduates.

“I want you to know this: Your presence on this campus changed us,” she said. “It is my honor to have been a part of this great institution. You made my time at Stan State unforgettable, and I will always be a Warrior.”

Sue Borrego