Cal State Fullerton Celebrates
BY VALERIE ORLEANS
From Dateline (June 17, 2004)
Under clear skies with flags snapping in the
breeze, the heady perfume of floral bouquets, the dazzle of hundreds
of colorful balloons and scores of proud spectators on hand, about
8,000 students achieved an important milestone in their lives. They
were the 45th class to participate in commencement ceremonies at
Cal State Fullerton.
Dressed in black robes – many adorned with
flowers – students participated in the two-day festivities
that kicked off with universitywide ceremonies featuring keynote
addresses by two Titan alumni: Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido on
Saturday, May 29, and award-winning mystery novelist Elizabeth George
on Sunday, May 30. George received an honorary doctorate in recognition
of her philanthropic work and success as an educator and novelist.
“Congratulations and best wishes to all the
graduates of the class of 2004 for achieving this educational milestone,”
said President Milton A. Gordon. “You have shown discipline,
commitment and hard work in pursuing your education.”
Pulido, a 1980 graduate with a bachelor’s degree
in engineering, described his life in publicservice and encouraged
his fellow Titans to seek an active role in their communities.
“When I first started kindergarten at age 5,
I didn’t know a word of English,” he recalled. “But
as I grew, I learned there are different languages and different
“I was working for an engineering firm. I was
a vice president and moving ahead in my career. Then my family had
a problem. We have a muffler shop in the downtown and they wanted
to build a shopping center; so they wanted the shop to go. We didn’t
want that to happen. I chose to leave my career and fight city hall.
Ultimately, we beat city hall and then I joined city hall!
“Sometimes you have to fight because you have
no choice,” said Pulido. “But what I learned is that
you have to negotiate, communicate, reach out, find a deal, find
a way to get along together.
“As you go out into this world, realize there
are businesses and opportunities and institutions all around you.
As you take those opportunities, realize you can make a huge difference.
You’ll struggle. You won’t know what the next stop will
be. But I know every time I take a step, I’m in a new place
that makes the next step possible. There’s courage within
you. You can be brave. You can move forward. And as you do that,
you’ll see that doors will open up. As you go out there, you
can make a difference. The world is waiting for you.”
“Change is what I would like to speak about
this morning,” said George, who graduated with a master’s
degree in counseling in 1979. “We make changes first by asking
questions, second by demanding answers that ARE actually answers
– and not just the careful iteration of what the speaker thinks
we wish to hear – and finally by addressing change in ourselves
and then moving that change outward to touch upon others through
our altered behavior.
“So I offer you a three step prescription for
your future, one I certainly wish had been offered to me …
learn to accept, learn to forgive, and learn to move on.
I believe every person here can make a difference
and can bring about change, but no person can do that without evidencing
the result of that change first and from within.”
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