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With Day Two, Commencement 2013 Tops 55,000

Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Guerrero Macias Proclaims Student Solidarity

May 26, 2013

Judge Macias

Judge Elizabeth Guerrero Macias

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Orange County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Guerrero Macias opened her keynote address to graduates at the main University commencement ceremony early Sunday morning on a note of solidarity.

"The beginning of my story is no different than that of many of you," she told the estimated 30,000 commencement guests and graduates who filled the sea of white chairs filling the lawn north of Titan Gym for the 8 a.m. event.

"I am a gardener's daughter who grew up to become a judge," said Macias, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and ethnic studies-Chicano studies at Cal State Fullerton, and then a law degree from California Western School of Law.

Following service in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California, she was appointed to the bench by Gov. Jerry Brown.

"I remember Saturdays were spent walking up to the front doorstep of people’s homes … me on one side of the street, my dad on the other, dropping off business cards,” she recalled.

“Sometimes, he would drop us off at school in his work truck. It was embarrassing. But I learned that there is nothing to be ashamed of for an honest day of hard work,” she added. "Although my father is retired, I will always be a gardener's daughter,” she said. "I want to inspire you … I want to dare you to dream and dream big ... I am here today to tell you that Cal State Fullerton has prepared us, has prepared you to go out in this world and succeed."

Thousands of Cal State Fullerton graduates moved the tassels on their mortarboards from right to left to the enthusiastic cheers of family and friends, waving balloons and banners in celebration. Counting both the Saturday and Sunday commencement ceremonies, more than 50,000, plus more than 8,000 wearing caps and gowns, attended the weekend's festivities.

CSUF President Mildred García applauded the students at the main ceremony. "You made it! Congratulations. We know the support you had from your family and friends, and they share in your accomplishment,” she said. "Remember, the world is changing rapidly, and you need to keep learning. Reach back and help others. And don't forget your alma mater, Cal State Fullerton. Tell us the good things you are doing. Make us proud. Go out and make a difference in the world."

García also recognized the family members of Maribel Ramos, the slain, 36-year-old criminal justice major and military veteran.

"We thank them for joining us. Family of Maribel Ramos, muchisimas gracias,” she said.

During the smaller ceremony that followed for criminal justice, political science and public administration graduates, Ramos’ bachelor’s degree was awarded posthumously to her 14-year-old niece, Giselle Cendejas, while graduates and others in the audience stood and applauded.

García praised Ramos as “a vital member of the Titan family, a beloved student veteran who was actively engaged on our campus and also in the community and a wonderful role model for our students, faculty and staff.”

Her commitment “to her education and her contributions to our campus and her service to the country are honored by all of us,” García said. “I am so privileged to recognize Maribel’s accomplishments at Cal State Fullerton.”

At other ceremonies around campus, commencement speakers spoke of the graduates' future and of their role in society.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs José L. Cruz addressed those gathered at the College of Engineering and Computer Science ceremony.

“Without education, our capacity to innovate is threatened,” he said. “America's promise to each other and to the world is that if you work hard, you can get ahead. We need our graduates in computer science and engineering to help lead our country to a better place.”

Berenecea Johnson Eanes, vice president for student affairs, took a similar tone in her challenge to the College of Education’s graduating class of master’s and Ed.D. students: “Remember the day you decided to be an educator, to invest without knowing what the outcome will be, to keep putting the proverbial skill, tools and investment in others in a way that is beyond. Today, you pledged to be an educator. … We know that you will continue to pay it forward in a way that only Titan educators can. Thank you for investing in the future of our country.”

Saturday's event was marked with a keynote address from Emmy Award-winning producer of "Desperate Housewives" and CSUF alumnus Marc Cherry ’95 (B.A. theatre arts).

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