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Cheers and pride for CSUN graduates on Friday, first of seven commencement events

The colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics at California State University, Northridge, held their commencement ceremony on Friday, May 19 on the lawn in front of the University Library, the first of seven commencement ceremonies that run through May 22 at the campus.

Students poured in on a sunny and warm evening, laughing and showing off their customized mortarboards, with some standout messages sewn or pasted onto their caps, including “The Best Things Come to Those Who Don’t Give Up” and “One Eternity Later, Class of 2023.”

After applauding for a rendition of the National Anthem by soloist LaKeisha Mondy, the crowd again applauded enthusiastically — this time after watching a video of members of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, gathered in an orchard, who sang a traditional blessing song.

CSUN President Ericka D. Beck told the crowd, “Many of you are the first in your family to graduate from college,” and she asked those first-generation students to cheer. The warm cheering spread through the huge audience of students.

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Graduates during the commencement ceremony for California State University Northridge’s Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and of Science and Mathematics in Northridge, Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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She told graduating students, “Showing up is your super power. … By showing up, you have succeeded. Keep showing up and keep succeeding.”

A handful of top students spoke, including Shelyn Villasis, a native of the Philippines who chose engineering, and is a first-generation college student in her family. She said of her university years, “I surrounded myself with people who had the same dream as mine.” She thanked “all the people who helped us along the way,” telling fellow students it’s OK to cry “but never be discouraged, because at the end of the day it is worth it.”

She was followed by student Audrey Todd, receiving a biotechnology degree, who said CSUN was “a warm and embracing culture for a black woman student. … I have thrived at CSUN.” She inspired loud applause from the crowd when she told them she was entering Stanford Medical School in the fall.

Six days earlier, on May 13, CSUN held its Honors Convocation, which can be viewed on the university’s YouTube channel here: bit.ly/3IpoQpb

An estimated 11,253 students — 9, 215 undergraduates and 2,038 graduate students — are eligible for the 2023 commencement.

All seven ceremonies are livestreamed on the university’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/calstatenorthridge) and YouTube (bit.ly/3IpoQpb).

The list of other commencement ceremonies at CSUN, this weekend through Monday:

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with graduates in the Departments of Africana Studies, Anthropology, Criminology and Justice Studies, Geography, History, Sociology, and Urban Studies and Planning, 8 a.m. May 20.
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with graduates in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education and the graduates in the Departments of Political Science, Public Administration, Public Sector Management, Psychology and Social Work, 6 p.m. May 20.
College of Humanities, and also the College of Health and Human Development with graduates in the Departments of Communication Disorders, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Kinesiology, 8 a.m. May 21.

During the 8 a.m. May 21 ceremony, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be conferred upon Rudy Ortega, Jr., community leader and tribal president of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians — a native sovereign nation in northern Los Angeles County.

College of Health and Human Development with graduates in the Departments of Assisted Technology Studies, Child and Adolescent Development, Environmental and Occupational Health, Health Sciences, Nursing, Physical Therapy and Recreation and Tourism Management, 6 p.m. May 21.

An honorary Doctor of Fine Arts will be conferred upon writer Charles Yu, author of four books including “Interior Chinatown,” during the 6 p.m. May 21 ceremony.

David Nazarian College of Business and Economics graduates, 8 a.m. May 22.
Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication graduates, 6 p.m. May 22.

An honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be conferred upon alumnus and National Notary Association CEO Milt Valera, during the 6 p.m. May 22 ceremony.

Valera graduated in 1968 from CSUN with a degree in journalism. He worked at two Los Angeles metropolitan newspapers before forming his own public relations and marketing agency. The university’s administration building is named Valera Hall.

Details on CSUN 2023 Commencement: www.csun.edu/commencement

California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St. 818-677-2130.

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