By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service
Commencement 2019 began on Monday morning as hundreds of students walked across the stage to the resounding cheers of family and friends who packed the University Gymnasium for the joyous ceremony.
The gymnasium was festively adorned with colorful banners featuring the Cal State LA colors, logo and seal. The morning ceremony highlighted undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Arts and Letters. In the afternoon, two separate ceremonies will feature undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Arts and Letters and the Charter College of Education, respectively.
During the first ceremony, students, family and friends were welcomed by Cal State LA President William A. Covino. He congratulated the Class of 2019, reminding students to use their degrees to help improve their communities. He also urged students to use their higher education to move beyond the factionalism and misinformation that have become all too common in public discourse and social media.
“I encourage you to believe that it is more true that we live in a world of compassion, generosity, and love. At Cal State LA, we are all deeply connected to a community that embraces people of diverse backgrounds who all worry about some of the same things, love some of the same things, and face some of the same obstacles.” Covino said. “With this community in mind, I hope, above all else, that you leave here today dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good.”
His remarks prompted hearty applause from the crowd, as he continued and told the students: "You are Golden Eagles, and you will soar!"
The guest speaker was Cal State LA alumna Laurie Lopez Tixier, senior vice president of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television. She earned a bachelor’s degree in radio and television broadcasting in 1987.
“When you believe in yourself, others will, too. You are all unique and will have different ways of getting to your destination,” Tixier told the graduates. “Identify what you want, then pursue and persist on your journey. Say to yourself, ‘Why not me?’”
The ceremony also featured a student speaker: Melissa Inocencio Deleon, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an option in communication for social change. She plans to continue her education at Cal State LA in the master’s program in communication studies.
"Regardless of what brought us here, what kept us here is the unstaggering belief that our education opens avenues toward tackling a flawed world," Deleon said to her fellow graduating students.
Following a performance of the University Hymn by Cal State LA student Isaac Aldape Torres and the Cal State LA Brass Quintet, a sea of gold, black and white balloons descended from the ceiling of the gym, covering the celebrating graduates.
Outside, the Main Walkway leading to the University Gymnasium was a festive scene. Graduates and their guests filled the space, which featured vendors and a photo area. Excited graduates, donning creatively decorated caps, hugged one another and posed for photos with family and friends. Many were decked out in brightly-colored leis and custom sashes adorned with the names of their academic programs.
About 6,000 students will receive diplomas during 15 ceremonies that will run through Friday afternoon. Thousands of guests are expected to attend the festivities.
For a schedule of the ceremonies and other details, please visit the Cal State LA Commencement webpage.
Photos: Above, A graduate celebrates at the morning Commencement ceremony. Bottom right, Cal State LA alumna Laurie Lopez Tixier speaks to graduating students. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)
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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.