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May 21, 2009


Fresno State Commencement celebrates achievements of 5,349 students

Commencement 2009 is under way at Fresno State with 27 events leading up to the University Commencement ceremony Saturday morning. Today at the Kremen Education convocation, liberal arts major Mindi Lin lets her nephew Yong Feng try on her cap and gown. A native of China, Mindi moved with her family to the U.S. eight years ago.

California State University, Fresno’s Commencement 2009 – a celebration that covers two days and includes 27 events – will honor the achievements of 5,349 students who have earned their baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.

College and school convocations, a graduate hooding ceremony and 19 recognition events begin Friday, with the biggest event – the 98th Commencement – scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Save Mart Center on campus.

The President’s Medalist, who is the top undergraduate student, is introduced at Saturday’s ceremony and the University Graduate Medal winner is announced Friday night. Eighteen Dean’s Medalists will be honored for academic achievement and other accomplishments.

Friday’s full day of events begins with the first convocation at 8 a.m. and concludes at 7:30 p.m. with the Hooding Ceremony for graduate students.

The busy weekend culminates with ABC News anchor John Quinones being honored at the 33rd Latino Commencement Celebration at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Save Mart Center.

The last activity of the 2009 commencement season will be the Air Force ROTC Commissioning Ceremony June 6 at the Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Educational Center, within the Student Recreation Center. It will include a California Air National Guard flyover at 1:30 p.m.

Convocations on Friday will be held in two locations. In the Save Mart Center will be the following: at 9 a.m., the Kremen School of Education and Human Development; at 12:30 p.m., the College of Social Sciences; and at 4 p.m., the Craig School Business.

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In the Student Recreation Center will be the following: at 8:30 a.m., the Lyles College of Engineering; at 11 a.m., the College of Arts and Humanities; and at 2 p.m., the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

At Saturday’s ceremony, Fresno State President John D. Welty will confer degrees on 4,343 students who completed their work in the summer, fall or spring semesters and are eligible for bachelor’s degrees. Another 988 students are eligible for master's degrees, 13 students for doctoral degrees, and five for a new education specialist degree.

The education specialist degree, offered through the Division of Graduate Studies, is an 86-unit program approved by the state in 2008 for the continuing education of school psychologists working in grades K-12. The Class of 2009 students are the first class to obtain the new degree from Fresno State.

The Class of 2009 includes 26 baccalaureate students who earned all A’s and 148 students who earned the summa cum laude (“with highest praise”) distinction for a GPA of 3.9 to 4.0. Seventeen students are graduating in 12 different special majors and 46 Smittcamp Family Honors College President’s Scholars are graduating with university honors.

The California State University and Fresno State will confer honorary doctoral degrees on two individuals:

  • Leslie Bassett of Flowery Branch, Ga., a Fresno State alumnus who will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts degree for his musical accomplishments

  • John L. “Jack” Woolf of Fresno, who will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his generosity that has helped Fresno State students focus on agricultural water issues.

Trustees Carol R. Chandler and Russel Statham will represent the CSU.

A posthumous bachelor’s degree in a special major, Crop Science Economics, will be awarded to Christopher Souza who died in January. A posthumous master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling will be awarded to Jerry Hultgren who died in February.

Approximately 18 retiring professors will be honored by the conferral of emeritus status, including Dr. Ronald S. Kiyuna, a professor in the Department of Counseling, Special Education and Rehabilitation, who died in October 2008.

The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to Dr. Nagy N. Bengiamin, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Fresno State.

Four other professors will be honored for excellence:

  • Monica Fusich, reference librarian in the Henry Madden Library, recipient of the Technology in Education Award.

  • Dr. Carol Fry Bohlin, professor of curriculum and instruction, recipient of the Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award.

  • Donald M. Priest, associate professor and chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, recipient of the Faculty Service Award.

  • Helene Joseph-Weil, professor of music, recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Award.

Promising New Faculty Awards will be presented to Amanda Adams (psychology), Vincent Biondo (philosophy), Jill Bradley (management), Alex Espinoza (English), Krish Krishnan (chemistry) and Larry Riley (biology).

The flags of 36 countries will adorn the Commencement stage to represent the countries of origin of this year’s graduates. Timothy Howard, a graduating music major, will sing the National Anthem and lead the new alumni in singing the Alma Mater to close Saturday’s ceremony.

All commencement events are free and open to the public, except for the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and the College of Arts and Humanities convocations, both at the Student Recreation Center, which require admission tickets.

The main commencement, Graduate Hooding Ceremony and International Graduation Celebration (1 p.m. Saturday, Music Building Concert Hall) will be streamed live with captioning on the Bulldog TV Web site. The feeds also will be available via iTunes U by the end of next week.

For more information about Commencement, call 559.278.2741.


Related links:

Commencement info (pdf)
Commencement events (pdf)
BulldogTV live feeds: http://bulldogtv.csufresno.edu/ or call 559.278.6892
Traffic, parking, seating (pdf)