Celebrations and Milestones
from Dateline (June 19, 2003)
More than 34,000 graduates, candidates and
guests took part in Cal State Fullerton’s 44th annual commencement
celebrations May 31 and June 1.
This year, the campus celebrated the graduation of
the first class of the Blended Teacher Education Program. The program,
instituted in 1999, offers aspiring elementary school teachers the
chance to earn a bachelor’s degree while simultaneously preparing
for a teaching credential.
Last year, Cal State Fullerton saw the first graduates
from the Guardian Scholars Program take part in commencement. This
year, the university celebrated the continued success of the program
as seven scholars joined in commencement festivities. The Guardian
Scholars Program, established in 1998, provides financial and other
support to CSUF-admitted students who have left the foster care
system, were wards of the court or come from similar backgrounds.
Among those who wore the black gowns and mortarboards
signaling the achievement of education and a transition to careers
and other goals was the university’s youngest graduate, Shawna
Tarr. Tarr was just 14 when she began her studies at Cal State Fullerton.
Now 17, she recently completed the CSU Sacramento Semester and an
internship in the office of state Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin).
Tarr, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political
science, plans on joining the Navy and working in intelligence as
On the same day, Helen
Daniel took part in commencement as this year’s
oldest graduate. The 68-year-old received her bachelor’s degree
in ethnic studies with a concentration in Chicano Studies.
One of the most inspiring speakers at commencement
was this year’s President’s Associates Scholastic Award
Lawson, a blind, single mother of three who graduated summa
cum laude. “One of my goals is to be a role model for my children
in getting an education,”
she said. “I want to give them the message that if mom could
do it, they could do it.” All three of her children, students
at Sunny Hills High School, were there to join in the celebration.
Lawson plans to continue her education in a doctoral program.
Kaskowitz, who compiled a record of community service that stretches
from Orange County to Honduras, was awarded this year’s President’s
Associates University Service Award, as well as the Miles D. McCarthy
Health Professions Award, which honors a health professions student
who demonstrates academic achievement, integrity and commitment
to serve humanity. Kaskowitz has made annual visits to remote areas
of Honduras with MEDICO, an organization that provides free medical,
dental, optometric and educational services to people who have no
basic health care. Kaskowitz, who has been accepted at four medical
schools, returns to Honduras four weeks after graduation.
A former actress, who decided to change career roles
from musical theater to medicine, was this year’s recipient
of the Kenneth L. Goodhue-McWilliams Award for outstanding community
service in the health professions field. After a seven-year stint
on the New York stage, Heidi
Meyer returned to the classroom as a postbaccalaureate student
at Fullerton. During her tenure on campus, Meyer was a collegiate
volunteer in the emergency room at Western Medical Center, a clinical
care extender at Hoag Hospital and an after-school tutor in Orange.
The President’s Associates Outstanding Graduate
Student Award was presented to Donovan
German, a marine biology student who earned straight A’s
while researching the digestive tract of herbivorous and carnivorous
fish with mentor Michael H. Horn, professor of biological science.
(See related story on Page 3.) German will pursue a doctorate in
at the University of Florida with the support of a five-year fellowship.
Jason Lorge, director of technology in the College
of Communi-cations, celebrated earning his M.B.A. and this year’s
Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award. Lorge has served
as a volunteer in numerous endeavors with the Boy Scouts of America
and Order of the Arrow and is a member of the Golden Key International
Honor Society, University Honors Society Council and Phi Kappa Phi
Carey Kirian, who graduated with a bachelor’s
degree in child and adolescent development, won the Alumni Association
Outstanding Senior Award for her community involvement. Kirian was
a mentor at New River Elementary School in Norwalk, a student ambassador
with the Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children
and was involved in the Child and Adolescent Studies Student Association.
She plans on starting
the campus teaching credential program this fall.
Tran, this year’s recipient of the university’s
International Under-standing Award, also earned a bachelor’s
degrees in child and adolescent development. During her college
career, Tran was actively involved in several campus organizations,
including Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Student California Teachers
Association, Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa
International Scholar Honor Society and the Finance Association.
She volunteered at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, elderly nursing
centers and with the Special Olympics. She returns to campus this
fall to begin the multiple-subject credential program.
Seventeen members of the campus Army ROTC were commissioned
second lieutenants on May 31. It is one of the largest classes of
cadets to be commissioned in the university program. Among the new
lieutenants were cadets from Battombong, Cambodia, and Zacatecoluca,
Commencement was a time of sadness and celebration
for Nanci and Rick Perkins as they received a posthumous bachelor’s
degree in child and adolescent development for their daughter Kimberly,
who died in January. To further honor their daughter, the Perkins
instituted the Kimberly Perkins Award for Dedication to Academic
Excellence. The first recipient was Tracey Hughes, who graduated
with a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent
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