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Commencement set for May 22

May 21, 2010

*** Sylvia Panetta keynote speaker***

Sylvia Panetta will give the keynote address at California State University, Monterey Bay's 14th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 22.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at Freeman Stadium on Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard. CSU Monterey Bay President Dianne Harrison will confer degrees on approximately 890 students; another 200 will receive teaching credentials.

"We are delighted and honored that Sylvia Panetta has agreed to speak at Commencement, our university's most important event of the year," Dr. Harrison said. "She is widely respected, and rightfully so, for her outstanding record of leadership, her tireless dedication and her commitment to education."

Mrs. Panetta is chair of the Board of Directors and director of the Panetta Institue for Public Policy. The institute works to attract young people to lives of public service, helping them expand their knowledge of the policy process and develop their skills as future leaders. It sponsors Congressional internship and leadership programs for college students and coordinates the Monterey County Reads program.

From 1977 to 1993, she administered five district offices in the 16th Congressional District as a volunteer for her husband, Leon Panetta, who represented that area for 16 years. She directed each of his re-election campaigns from 1980 to 1992.

She actively supports the Sylvia Panetta Scholarship Fund at Monterey Peninsula College; is a past board member of the National Steinbeck Center and the Community Foundation for Monterey County; was the founding executive director of the Foundation to Support the Monterey Peninsula Unified school district; and has served as honorary chair for numerous Central Coast fundraising campaigns.

This year she received the Outstanding Community Service Award from her alma mater, St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma, and the Monterey County Business Council's Economic Vitality Award for Education.

Mrs. Panetta earned a nursing degree from St. Joseph's College in San Francisco and studied humanities at Dominican College of Caifornia, Monterey Peninsula College and Sonoma state University. A native of San Francisco, she lives in Carmel Valley with her husband. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Traffic is likely to be congested on Highway 1 in the vicinity of the campus before and after the ceremony.

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