President Ochoa presides over first ceremony
Enduring one final test – a two-hour-plus ceremony on a warm and breezy day – about 1,300 CSU Monterey Bay students celebrated their graduation May 18 in Freeman Stadium on the Seaside campus.
It was the largest graduating class in school history. They received their diplomas before a capacity crowd of about 8,000 family members and friends.
Keynote speaker Robert Danziger, a sustainable energy pioneer, musician and inventor, told the students that they can compete with people from Yale and Harvard and MIT, “just as I had to.
“If you have the honor, the integrity and the fire in the belly, you can make it. You can be as insightful and successful as anyone from any of those schools.”
Dr. Danziger worked at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he had a close-up look at one of the space age’s most ambitious projects, the Voyager exploration into deep space.
While still in his 20s, he founded Sunlaw Energy Corp. His goal was to research, develop, demonstrate and commercialize new energy and environmental technology. He has been a lecturer at Stanford University and an adjunct professor of alternative energy law at Whittier College School of Law.
“You have accomplished much and earned the right to stand proud,” he told the graduates. . . . “When your name is called and you walk across this stage and receive your diploma, your ancestors’ dreams have come true, their hearts are glad, and they can now rest content. Finally, every sacrifice they made, every oppression they endured, was worth it.”
He reminded the graduates that while there may have been setbacks along the way, they prevailed.
“I, and indeed many of you, were told we were not going to make it. Almost everyone here today has been hit, rallied, and redeemed themselves, and at this time I am delighted to note that we were right and those who doubted us were wrong.”
The commencement ceremony, the 17th in the university’s history, was the first presided over by Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, who took over as the university’s president last July.
The ceremony opened with the traditional welcome in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese, delivered by members of the faculty. That was followed by the national anthem, sung by Stevie Rae Stephens, a music major and member of the Class of 2013.
In his remarks, President Ochoa cited the “amazing array of talent” among the graduates, and singled out several students whose stories are representative of the Class of 2013.
Among them were biology major Michael Diaz, who is headed to a Ph.D. program at the University of California, Irvine; Katie Canul, the first CSUMB grad to be accepted to UC San Francisco Medical School; Petra Mansfield, one of the first graduates of the master of social work program; Heather Cusson, a former Army medic who is headed to nursing school; and Julio Castro, a first-generation college student who plans to attend graduate school with an eye toward government or diplomatic service.
President Ochoa pointed out that among the graduating class are 12 veterans. “Being located at the former site of Fort Ord, our campus is proud of our ties to our nation’s military heritage. We are dedicated to meeting the educational needs of those who have served our country so well,” he said.
He introduced student speaker Ana Angeles, winner of the President’s Award for Exemplary Student Achievement.
Angeles, a Business Administration major, served as the student government’s chief financial officer and co-chaired the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
She passed along a piece of advice she had received.
“Some of us have received employment offers, some of us are seeking advanced degrees, and a lot of us are still figuring it out. As people keep asking us about our plans for the future, I want to share some great advice I’ve received: we will end up exactly where we need to be.
“So, don’t worry. The puzzle is coming together even though you can’t yet see the picture.”
To read about the API community's graduation celebration, click here.