Families and Friends

Families and Friends fill the seats for today's graduation.

Today marks the end for many undergrad students in either the College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The commencement kicked off at 9 am today but for many faculty members, they have been here for a few hours already.

Officer Ramirez

Officer Ramirez is ready for today and tomorrow's commencements. 

Officer Ramirez has been on campus since 6:40 today, helping his fellow UPD officers guide the flow of traffic. This is his third commencement and compared to the last two he said, “this year’s crowd might be a little bigger than my first years. There’s a lot of family members who are here to watch their student graduate and watch the stage.”

Daryl Asuncion returned to Stan today to see his past KCSS coworkers walk the stage. “I graduated last year with a communication major but I returned to watch a lot of my communication friends walk because I wasn’t able to walk with them last year. It was like out of a whim that I had today off in the morning ‘so let’s go!’ I’m excited to see my old coworkers like Bridget, Kayla, Queren, and Nevin.”

KCSS Graduates

Some of the KCSS Graduates smiling for the camera. (Photo Courtsey of Darryl Asuncion)

On the way to his seat, he gave a few tips to both high school grads that will be graduating within the next few weeks and also today's grads. “For both grads, enjoy the next few weeks and remember that graduation is your day. Enjoy it!”

As a graduate, Ramirez advised seniors to “look for a job that’s within the field that you graduated in. I know that one of the biggest troubles is getting experience but you need it because a lot of these jobs require more and more experience. I know that looks great on a resume.”

Kim Valenzuela was helping today at the Indoor seating rooms in the DBH lecture halls. She said that this year the school decided to do the ceremonies different. “They changed the grouping for the ceremonies, they’re having the presentation of the Masters and the PHDs at the same time they’re doing the BAs this year. In previous years they’ve done the Masters and PhDs credentials in the evening but they’re doing the ceremonies by the college.”

DBH Indoor Seating

Indoor seating will be held on all three commencement days.

She went on to say, “I’m assuming that they are trying to even out the size of the ceremonies because the commencement with the College of Business usually runs longer, as a result of the higher number of students going for the Business degree. I think having the ceremonies this way will help the morning one to be shorter but today’s evening one will become longer. 

This is Valenzuela’s seventh ceremony that she’s helped with and she has been placed with the indoor seating rooms, she said last year’s screenings were filled up. “I imagine that this year’s hall won’t be as filled up because of the additional seating in the arena.”

This year, Dorothy Bizzini received the CSU honorary doctorate.

Bizzini expressed her thanks to Stan State and when President Ellen Junn gave her the news she said, “I was speechless, I couldn’t just thank her enough."

Dorothy Bizzini Speaks about her past

Dorothy Bizzini Speaks about her past while being projected the Snider Hall.(Photo Courtesy of Darryl Asuncion)

Bizzini has been a Stan State supporter since 1965 and has served on the Stanislaus Foundation Board since 1991. She introduced her family before her speech. Her youngest daughter, Kristen, received her teaching credentials at Stan State. Bizzini then shared how she moved from Oklahoma to California. 

When she was young, Bizzini remembers playing outside one day when the “skies got black.”

Her father got the entire family into the cellars where they waited out the storm. When they got out of the cellar, there was nothing left except for open fields. Her family had lost everything to the Dust Bowl.

“I am a product of the Dust Bowl,” said Bizzini.

Her family decided to move to California after receiving a letter from her grandparents. While trying to move to California, Bizzini and her family lost all their money and had to begin working picking cotton. After two years the family finally made it to California and settled in Gustine. Her parents emphasized the importance of good grades. Dorothy met her husband Bill Bizzini when he started tutoring her in chemistry.

“I got straight A’s in chemistry. I got a husband and out chemistry is still just working fine.”  

Dorothy got a nursing scholarship for Sacramento State College and her husband graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Veterinary Science. After getting into real estate due to lack of money, and hearing that the new college in Turlock didn’t have housing, Dorothy bought and made some dormitories for the students.

Dorothy has attended all except one commencement ceremony since Stan State opened in 1965. She encouraged the graduates to give back to Stan State so that future students have everything and more than what they did.

Today's commencement speaker was Dolores Huerta. Huerta is best known for having co-founded the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

President Junn and Dolores Huerta

President Junn and Dolores Huerta pose together after commencement. (Photo courtesy of Darryl Asuncion)

Huerta began her speech by mentioning how proud she is of having grown up in the San Joaquin Valley and lucky the graduates are to have received their education in the central valley due to the amount of diversity found here.

Huerta then touched on the upcoming 2020 census and the importance of getting everyone counted. She said, “For every person that is not counted this community will lose 50,000 of federal dollars."

Huerta also reminded everyone that, “we are one human race that means we have to support each other, care for each other, respect each other.”

She ended her speech with a couple of chants. The first chant was a question and a response.

She asked, “Who’s got the power?”

And the audience responded, “We got the power!”

“What kind of power?”

“People power!”

The second chant was “Si se puede!” As seen in this video.

She focused her speech on recognizing first-year students and those that struggled to get here.

J Burton Vashay award

Dr. Shawna Young presents Maria marquez the J Burton Vashay award, for her work both off and on campus. (Photo courtesy of Darryl Asuncion)

Many students in the crowd are first-generation students, such as our very own ASI President Maria Marquez.

Marquez (senior, Communications Studies) was awarded today with the J Burton Vashay award, which is presented to the graduate who displays the highest standards of leadership, service, and scholarship. She graduated today but looks to return for her Masters in Public Administration.

She was a first-year generation student and today was able to celebrate with her friends and family. Marquez said, “My mom always taught me work ethic and not to give up. You can do as much as you want, as long as you enjoy it and make sure to take care of yourself so you don’t get burnt out.”

Marquez will be back next spring to be, once again, Stan State Asi President and looks to learn more to help her serve the community.

Like Marquez, Brian Mendez Martinez (senior, Political Science) is also a first-generation student. “I’m the first person in my entire family to graduate from college. This day means a lot, not just as a testament to the idea of the American Dream but also the sacrifice that they [parents] made in their lives when they came to this country," said Mendez Martinez.

Look who I found

Dr. Stevens and Dr. Horvath congradualate all grads for their accomplishments and for those graduating later, have fun and enjoy today!

Sahara Sandoval also faced several obstacles before graduating, such as not knowing English and her husband passing away. Today she graduated with a degree in Spanish and said, “This is amazing for me because I never thought that I could do this.”  

When asked for tips for incoming Stan State students, Sandoval said, “never give up. You’re always going to find obstacles, but never give up keep going.”

Today’s 6 pm graduation ceremony and tomorrow's 9 am will be shown in two lecture halls in DBH, one in the Warrior Arena, and one in Snider hall.

We will be adding on to this article throughout the day.

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