More than 2,800 California State University, Stanislaus students turned their tassels from right to left this week, marking their graduation from college and entrance into the real world.
The 2013 commencement ceremonies held a number of firsts for the university: the first CSU Stanislaus graduation for newly appointed President Joseph Sheley; the first time a third ceremony specifically for graduate students was added to the schedule; and, the first time for a new tradition of honoring Golden Grads – those who graduated 50 years ago in the class of 1963.
“This is a special day for families and friends, faculty and staff too,” Sheley said. “Everyone celebrates. Everyone is happy. Everyone is proud.”
Nearly 800 doctorate, masters and credential program students graduated Thursday evening, while approximately 2,000 undergraduate students received their diplomas in two separate ceremonies held Friday morning and afternoon.
The ceremonies were full of accomplishment and hope, as the recent graduates prepared to leave the university and head down new pathways.
“In the big picture, we are lucky to be here, to receive an education and posses a degree from a university,” said Patrick Akin, a biological sciences bachelor's degree graduate who served as the student speaker at the Friday afternoon ceremony. “Not everyone is as fortunate as we are. This unique day has brought us all together, as a community and as a family. We have a chance to become invested in one another for our security and well being. It starts here, today.”
Even though the awaiting job market – or lack thereof – may be scary to some of the new graduates, Sheley offered the former students strong words of encouragement.
“The job market today remains difficult,” said Sheley. “Many people will tell you that a college degree is not worth the effort you put into it. I am here to say that they are flat-out wrong.”
Sheley continuously praised CSU Stanislaus alumni as being some of the best workers around the region.
“Stanislaus graduates are well known for their practical approach to professional responsibilities – no matter what the major is,” said Sheley. “Employers love our grads. They hit the ground running.”
In addition to students receiving their degrees, the commencement ceremonies also honored individuals with a number of awards, including:
– The award for Outstanding Professor for 2012 was presented to philosophy professor Andy Young
– The Geiger-Metzger Award, presented to the graduating student with the with the highest undergraduate grade-point average in courses completed at CSU Stanislaus, was awarded to communication studies major Kenneth Mashinchi
– The J. Burton Vasche Award, presented to the graduate who displays the highest standards of leadership, service and scholarship throughout his or her college years, was awarded to mathematics major Jessica De Silva.
For more information about CSU Stanislaus, visit www.csustan.edu.