Two top scholars and leaders have been honored with the Alumni Association’s 2017 Outstanding Senior and Outstanding Graduate Student awards, which recognize academic achievement, as well as service to the campus community.
Luc Ceci of Yorba Linda always knew he wanted a career in business. He began his college career at Coastline Community College, where he got involved in student government and helped create a business honors society. He graduated as class valedictorian and brought those experiences to Cal State Fullerton, where he continued his academic success and involvement in the student Finance Association and as a member of the Mihaylo Business Honors program.
Such experience led the Outstanding Senior to develop his public speaking, organization and planning skills, “as well as self confidence in what I’m able to achieve.
“Ultimately, serving in multiple leadership roles has taught me that leadership is often about serving those you lead,” Ceci said. “Whether I am lobbying powerful state lawmakers or inviting speakers from Fortune 500 companies, my goal is to serve the members of my organization.”
Attending CSUF “has been a pivotal part of my educational journey,” he explained shortly before taking the podium before hundreds of his peers, their family and friends at the Sunday, May 21, commencement ceremony for Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.
Ceci reminded his fellow grads of two essential life lessons: “There is no substitute for hard work and commitment of time to reach your goals” and “The resources of friends, family and the community of CSUF were invaluable to achieving our educational goals.
“Education,” Ceci said, “creates enduring value by reorienting our minds to recognize that we can in fact achieve great things if we invest hard work and time.”
Ceci has already begun his career as an associate financial adviser with DH Financial and Insurance Services — “a direct result of my internship with New York Life Insurance Company/NYLive Securities.”
Outstanding Graduate Student
Tim Alexander ’15 (B.F.A. theatre arts-acting), who just completed his master of science in education with a concentration in higher education, left his mark on campus early on — not just on stage, but behind the scenes. He has served as master of ceremonies for Concert Under the Stars — and will do so again this year — worked as a student assistant for the vice president of student affairs and even helped establish a regular on-campus effort to promote financial literacy.
“Creating a musical to teach others about financial literacy with Bank of America, University Advancement and the College of the Arts helped me find my talents and strengths, and use my skills and abilities to serve students,” said Alexander. “Working on different projects I noticed my relational capital, my social capital, my ability to empathize with underserved communities, and used my voice as a Titan to inspire others with my narrative and to speak on behalf of others whose voices often are not heard.”
After graduating with a B.F.A., Alexander decided that he wanted to spend more time at Cal State Fullerton.
“There was something about this community that in a lot of ways I wasn’t ready to let go,” he explained. “It became a home for me. Faculty and staff became parents and uncles and aunts and crazy cousins. It was family.”
As a former Guardian Scholar, he added, he didn’t realize there were so programs and services to support students.
“I didn’t know there was a Division of Student Affairs, I didn’t know there were individuals whose sole purpose is to help you get to graduation with the minimum amount of obstacles and challenges,” he explained. “When I realized that that was a profession — that you could study it and get paid for doing it, I was so inspired.”
Today, Alexander is involved with several charities and programs such as GEAR UP, and credits the University for an intangible range of access, resources and support that he would have been hard pressed to find elsewhere. “Cal State Fullerton allowed me to maximize and surpass where I could’ve been.
“To end this chapter with this award … it’s affirming to know people see what I’m doing and I feel like it’s also inspiring others.”