CSUSB’s Class of 2019 Urged to Remain Courageous During Commencement Ceremonies

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Cal State San Bernardino’s Class of 2019 celebrated its graduation milestone during five commencement ceremonies – one for the Palm Desert Campus on June 13 in Rancho Mirage and four for the main campus on June 15 at Toyota Arena in Ontario.

To more than 3,600 participating students, CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales urged the graduating classes to remain courageous throughout their journeys.

“Graduates – today I want to talk to you about something each of you have already displayed. It’s something that often seems in short supply, especially in these trying times. Yet as I look out across this arena – just as I look out across our great country, I see this special something in an ever-growing number of people. That special something is courage,” he said during his opening speech. “What I am asking you today is to reach down and find that courage again. Meet – and exceed – the next expectations. I know you have doubts. You don’t know what’s next. You’re unsure about what awaits on the next page of the calendar. The road appears long, and tomorrow is a mystery. Yet that’s the beauty of it all. You are in charge. It is up to you to find the courage and forge your destiny.”

Morales gave examples of recent alumni who have stayed courageous while achieving their professional goals:

  • Alexander Soto, a 2016 biochemistry graduate, was a CSU Trustees TELACU Scholar at CSUSB. He is presently studying at UCLA’s School of Medicine.
  • Lauren Cirillo, a 2017 information systems and technology – cybersecurity graduate, is a cyber-analyst with NERC, a nonprofit international regulatory authority that assures reliability and security of the bulk power system serving more than 334 million people.
  • Sean Ganther, a 2016 biology graduate, originally hoped for a music career, but developed a passion for science after transferring to CSUSB. He is presently enrolled in the DDS/Ph.D. dual degree program at UC San Francisco’s School of Dentistry.
  • Monica Stockhausen,a 2012 psychology graduate, founded Nerdy Girls Rock, a company that develops women to be confident, courageous and competitive, both personally and professionally, and is dedicated to closing the gender pay gap. She was named one of the 30 most influential people under the age of 30 in California’s 47th Assembly District.

“These four, and countless others, have earned their degrees and found the courage to do more, to take a chance and to achieve great things,” Morales said.

During the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration ceremony, a posthumous Bachelor of Arts degree in information systems and technology was awarded to LaKesha Bryant. Bryant’s mother and son were the first to cross the stage to accept her degree.

During the College of Arts and Letters ceremony, the university bestowed an honorary doctorate of humane letters upon Dr. Sang-Kyun Lee, noted philanthropist and supporter of higher education throughout the world, who is CEO of South Korea-based Shin-Il Corporation and chairman of the Shin-Il Foundation.

Each college also recognized its chosen outstanding undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. The 2019 outstanding recipients were:

  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: Alana Muller (psychological sciences) as the outstanding graduate student and Melody Robinson (psychology) as the outstanding undergraduate student;
  • Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration: Jess Laird (social work and public administration in the new dual-degree program) as the outstanding graduate student and Ashley Moeller (accounting) as the outstanding undergraduate student;
  • College of Natural Sciences: Dolores Mancha (public health) as the outstanding graduate student and Jennifer Gallardo (biology) as the outstanding undergraduate student;
  • College of Arts and Letters: Frederick Brashear (MFA in studio art) as the outstanding graduate student, Victoria Porraz (MA in English composition) as the second outstanding graduate student, and Aubrey Guldemond (English) as the outstanding undergraduate student;
  • College of Education: Quinton Bemiller (educational leadership) as the outstanding doctoral student and Genesis Guardado (counseling and guidance) as the outstanding graduate student;
  • Palm Desert Campus: Nicole Phillips (special education and teaching credential) as the outstanding graduate student and Michael Muela (nursing) as the outstanding undergraduate student.

“Earlier, I spoke to you about courage. As you prepare to step into the next phase of your lives, I urge you to draw on that courage and use it for the betterment of all,” Morales said in his concluding remarks. “Show concern, appreciation, respect and empathy. In a single word – care … If you have the courage to do, to lead, and to change, trust me, you will make a difference and enjoy a successful and fulfilling life.”

To watch the CSUSB 2019 Spring Commencement ceremonies, visit the Video Library webpage.

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