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Spotlight: 2012 in Review

Dec. 21, 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, here's a look back at some of Cal State Fullerton's notable events and milestones.

New President

Mildred García became president of Cal State Fullerton. Since she started work on campus in June, García delivered her first convocation address, won the inaugural “Local Hero in Educational Excellence Award” from the Viet Foundation, hosted well-attended college-planning events, opened the new Student Veteran Center on campus and began charting the university’s plan for the next five years.

Commencement, Flash Mob and Will You Marry Me?

About 10,000 grads and candidates for graduation took part in Cal State Fullerton’s commencement ceremonies. Attendees numbered more than 50,000 during the weekend festivities, which included a flash mob marriage proposal and inspirational keynote addresses from students and invited speakers.

Rankings and Record Enrollment

First in state for graduating Hispanic students, Cal State Fullerton is fourth in the nation for the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students, as reported in Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. In addition, CSUF is No. 8 among universities nationwide for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to minorities, as reported in Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s list of the “Top 100 Degree Producers.”  The university received nearly 63,000 applications, the most ever, for admission for fall 2013.

Lunch With Warren Buffet

Billionaire Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., discussed business with business administration majors over lunch, giving the 19 students a chance to ask many questions.

Outstanding Professors

The 2011-12 Outstanding Professor Martin V. Bonsangue delivered an entertaining and informative public lecture on how being bad at math is no longer an option for America. Then, in spring, anthropologist John A. Bock was named the new Outstanding Professor. Also winning recognition as recipients of national and international acclaim were other members of the faculty, including mathematician Zair Ibragimov; Fulbright Scholars Stan L. Breckenridge, Anthony S. DiStefano, HyeKyeung Seung, Nawang B. Phuntsog, Nancy Snow and Dennis F. Berg; engineer Kiran George; historian Lynn M. Sargeant; Carrie M. Lane, associate professor of American studies; and philosopher Graham J. McFee. 

Student Success

History majors continue their award-winning legacy as their honor society, Theta-Pi, received the best chapter award from the National History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta, for the 31st straight year. And, their history student journal, Welebaethan, was named the best in the nation for the 26th consecutive year. Across campus, five civil and environmental engineering majors received Dwight David Eisenhower Hispanic-Serving Institutions Fellowship Program awards, totaling $30,500, for their research projects aimed at advancing the transportation industry. In addition, eight CSUF students were named 2012-13 Sally Casanova California Pre-Doctoral Scholars by the California State University. Marimba player Heejeong Shin, a junior music major, was named a 2012 “Yamaha Young Performing Artist.” Kelly Ferguson, a geology graduate major, was honored with an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. In sports, the women's soccer team won the Big West Conference. The Titan baseball team won the Big West Conference. And, for the third consecutive year, the 16 members of Titans Dance Team are the winners of the Universal Dance Association College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship in Division I.

Alumni Acclaim

CSUF saluted eight distinguished alumni at the 19th annual Vision & Visionaries event. Another notable alumna, Tracy Caldwell Dyson (B.S. chemistry ’93), returned to her alma mater and inspired students with her story about “dreaming big” and realizing her goal to become a NASA astronaut. On the entertainment front, Oscar-winning Kevin Costner (B.A. business administration-marketing ’78) received an Emmy for best actor in a miniseries or movie. In science, we reported on Dennis L. Kelly’s (B.S. biological science, ’71, M.S. biology ’74) work, studying Orange County’s bottleneose dolphins. In education, high school history teacher David Goldenberg (B.A. political science ’83, M.S. education-educational administration ’01) was named a California Teacher of the Year. Congressman Ed Royce (B.A. business administration-accounting in ’77) will assume the chairmanship of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Jan. 3, when the 113th Congress first meets. A recent alumna, Qianna Liu, was been awarded a prestigious National Health Service Corps scholarship that is helping her become an osteopathic physician delivering care to people in underserved communities. The award, estimated at about $285,000, pays for full medical school tuition, books, supplies, a monthly living stipend and other educational costs.

D.C. Calling

Students gained experience in Washington, D.C. by participating in the Cal State DC internship program, which has expanded to a two-semester program. The internships help propel students into jobs and prestigious appointments, such as the ones landed by alumna Kelly H. Kim (B.A. public administration ’12), who was named a U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining as a Kettering Public Administration Fellow, and Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellow Eliza M. Ramirez (B.A. political science and women’s studies ’12).

New Appointments

Besides the appointment of a new university president, other top-ranking officials appointed in 2012 included: José L. Cruz, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Berenecea Y. Johnson Eanes, vice president for student affairs; Gregory J. Saks, vice president for university advancement; Police Chief Dennis DeMaio; and Jim Donovan, director of athletics.

Campus Lockdown

Safety was the No. 1 priority toward year-end as evidenced during the Dec. 12 campus lockdown instituted to protect the campus members and visitors threatened by the possible presence of an armed fugitive attempting to elude police. Participants shared some of their moments.

By: Mimi Ko Cruz and Michael Mahi

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