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CSU Stanislaus class of 2009 encouraged to take risks
Over 600 students participated in the California State University, Stanislaus commencement ceremony on Friday. A total of about 2,200 students applied for graduation from CSUS this year. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal
On a day that felt and looked more like the beginning of the fall semester, about 600 California State University, Stanislaus students walked across the stage, moved their tassels from the left to the right, and became college graduates.
Friday was the first of the university’s 49th annual commencement ceremonies, which included the Colleges of Business Administration, Human and Health Sciences, and Natural Sciences. Today, students from the Colleges of the Arts, Education, and Humanities and Social Sciences will participate in graduation ceremonies. All total about 2,200 students have applied for graduation from CSU Stanislaus this year, according to university officials.
California State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner served as Friday’s keynote speaker, and going against the grain of the stereotypical insurance man, Poizner encouraged the class of 2009 to go out into the world and take risks.
“My message to each of you today is to take a risk,” Poizner told the graduates. “Do the very thing you’re most passionate about at this moment in your life. Seize the opportunity that your accomplishment here offers you, and make your life a reflection of the best you have to give.”
Poizner offered up his own life as an example of how taking a risk can lead to great success.
“I grew up in Houston, and graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in electrical engineering,” Poizner said. “The safe thing would have been to go back to Houston, but I knew I wanted to make things — innovative things that improved people’s lives — and in 1978, Silicon Valley was a place where cutting-edge new companies were sprouting virtually every day. So I took the risky path, and set out for California.”
That risk paid off for Poizner in a major way when his pioneering technology made global positioning satellite receivers in cell phones an industry standard.
Poizner’s latest risk is making a run for California governor.
During Friday’s ceremony the university awarded Christine Stonecyher with the Metzger/Geiger Award for academic achievement. The J. Burton Vasche Award, which goes to the student who displays the highest standards of leadership, cooperation, participation, service, and scholarship, will be awarded today.
At today’s ceremony the university will pay homage to Biological Sciences Professor James Hansen, who was one of the original faculty members when classes started at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in 1960. Hansen is retiring this year, but will make one last appearance at the university to award a bachelor’s degree in Geography to his grandson Andrew Morgan.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.