Commencement throng celebrates with Class of 2015
'BECOME ADVOCATES FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION,' GRADUATES TOLD
More than 8,600 well-wishers crowded the stands of Freeman Stadium May 16 for the commencement ceremony at California State University, Monterey Bay.
On a cool, overcast day, Hugo Morales urged the graduates to remember that they can make a difference.
Mr. Morales, founder of Radio Bilingue and a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, was the keynote speaker at the university’s 19th annual commencement. More than 1,500 students were awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees and teaching credentials before the capacity crowd.
After congratulating the graduates, Mr. Morales reminded them that they are evidence of the value of public education. “I hope that you become advocates for public education; we cannot take public education for granted,” he said. He recounted how, in 1980, he organized farmworkers, teachers, students and artists to launch Radio Bilingüe as a single public radio station for the large Latino communities of Fresno and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley. The network now includes 11 stations in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Those stations provide opportunities for diverse voices, especially young people, to tell their stories. “All of you have stories, and you should be proud of them. You have persevered and defied stereotypes. I encourage you to work to open doors for those following behind you so they can tell their stories.
“As you begin the next chapter of your life, please don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference. You will find a way. Yes, it can be done. Si se puede. Your graduation today speaks volumes that it can be done.”
President Eduardo Ochoa told the graduates that they came to the university community and built a community of their own. “We hope that is something you can take into the next chapters of your life. No matter where you go from here, there will be issues to face, causes to champion, people to help,” he said. "May you make that next place better than you found it, just as you did here at Cal State Monterey Bay.”
Student speaker Lilyana Gross, winner of the President’s Award for Exemplary Student Achievement, was next on the podium. She reminded her classmates that as graduates of CSUMB, “we have something special to offer.
"We value service, team work, community impact, sustainability and integrity because of our shared values shaped by the amazing individuals around us daily,” she said. “We are an unstoppable entity. Together in the future, we will make our mark on the world.”
The ceremony opened with the traditional welcome in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese, delivered by the members of the faculty.
Dr. Linda Bynoe of the Liberal Studies Department; Dr. Rita Benmayor, Division of Humanities and Communication; Dr. William Head, Division of Science and Environmental Policy; and Dr. Rosalie Strong, School of Computing and Design, were awarded emeritus status acknowledging their service to the university.
Decorated mortarboards were popular with members of the graduating class.