News Release| Commencement 2011; Cal State L.A.

June 6, 2011

Note to editors and news directors: To make arrangements for photos or interviews, call the Cal State L.A. Public Affairs Office in advance at (323) 343-3050. For profiles of additional CSULA graduates, go to: /univ/ppa/spotlight/archive/2010/grad2010-spotlight.php.

Media Advisory

Cal State L.A.’s Commencement June 10-11 

L.A. Police Commission President, 17-year-old grad,
visually-impaired marathon runner, All-America hero and athlete,
single-mother nursing student among CSULA’s Class of 2011

Los Angeles, CA – A two-day festivity filled with pride and celebrations, California State University, Los Angeles will confer more than 5,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees at this year’s Commencement exercises June 10 and 11.

The Friday 5 p.m. ceremony will honor graduates in the Charter College of Education; College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology; and College of Health and Human Services. Its keynote speaker will be U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

The Saturday 8 a.m. ceremony will honor graduates in the College of Arts and Letters; College of Business and Economics; and College of Natural and Social Sciences. Its speaker will be California State Controller John Chiang.

The following are among the thousands of stories of pride and persistence amid the Class of 2011:

  • Los Angeles Police Commission President John W. Mack will be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the CSU Board of Trustees at Cal State L.A.’s Saturday Commencement. He served as president of the Los Angeles Urban League from August of 1969, until his retirement in 2005. Under his leadership, the Los Angeles Urban League has become one of the most successful non-profit community organizations in Los Angeles with an annual budget of $25 million.
  • More than 20 graduates in the Early Entrance Program (EEP)—ages 17-21—will receive baccalaureate degrees this weekend, including 17-year-old biochemistry major Catrina Chitjian (Monterey Park resident), the youngest graduating senior this year. After marching at the Saturday Commencement, Chitjian will be applying to graduate school to pursue a career as a synthetic chemist. Other 2011 EEP graduates include David T. Wang (Walnut resident), 19, who is one of only 57 students nationwide to be selected for the prestigious $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship, and Christine Chow (San Gabriel Valley resident), 18, who was admitted to Stanford’s University School of Education’s Learning, Design, and Technology program with a full fellowship.
  • War veteran, athletic champion and community activist, Miguel Cucue (Santa Ana resident) earned All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and All West Region Division II honors for his outstanding 2009 soccer season at CSULA. Cucue, who served in the U.S. Army for six years, was deployed to Iraq in 2005, searching and clearing IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) from the streets of Hila and Kerbala as well as raiding houses in search of terrorist activity. With a big heart for helping others, he is now actively involved in serving the local community through the University’s Educational Participation in Communities program. On Saturday, he will receive his bachelor’s degree in communication studies.
  • Adrian Broca (West Los Angeles resident)—who lost his sight due to a genetic condition during his senior year of high school—found his renewed sense of freedom and independence through running at marathons by following the shadows of other runners. To date, he already ran 26 marathons. Also reaching the finish line, Broca will complete his bachelor’s degree in business administration by crossing the graduation platform at the Saturday Commencement.
  • A single mother, Araciel Juarez (Pacoima resident) had to juggle family, work and school in order to achieve her dream of a college degree and a future career in helping others. At the Friday Commencement, she will be conferred a bachelor’s degree in nursing. For her dedication in pursuing a college education despite personal setbacks, Juarez was honored with the CSU Trustee’s $10,000 Ali C. Razi Scholarship in 2009.
  • With a dissertation focused on “Getting It Right: Inner-City Parents, School Involvement, and Student Academic Achievement,” Fredricka Brown (Corona resident) will be conferred her joint doctorate in educational administration and leadership at the doctoral hooding ceremony on Friday.
  • A biology student, Trinidad Cisneros (Los Angeles resident) will pursue a Ph.D. in immunology at Stanford University after graduation. Before coming to Cal State L.A., Trinidad was a health educator with sex workers in Hollywood, and a counselor and tutor for institutionalized youth. His passion to help took him under freeway overpasses, remote hotels and the streets of Los Angeles’ Skid Row in search of homeless families that he could place in emergency housing. Marching at the Saturday Commencement, he will receive his bachelor’s degree in biology.
  • Rina Hernandez (Paramount resident) and Melissa Almanza (Alhambra resident) are the only two students to graduate with the President’s Scholars distinction in the Class of 2011. They will receive bachelor’s degrees in biology and Japanese, respectively, at the Saturday Commencement. Cal State L.A.’s President’s Scholars were awarded full scholarships for four-year study at Cal State L.A.

Both 2011 Commencement ceremonies will be streamed live. The web streams will be broadcast through Cal State L.A.’s Eagles Live Cast at /eagleslive/.

What:              The Commencement of Cal State L.A.’s 64th graduating class will be a festive celebration.

When:             Friday, June 10, 2011,  5 p.m.

Conferring degrees to graduates in the Charter College of Education, College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, and College of Health and Human Services

Speaker: U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

Saturday, June 11, 2011,  8 a.m.

Conferring degrees to graduates in the College of Arts and Letters, College of Business and Economics, and College of Natural and Social Sciences

Speaker: California State Controller John Chiang.

Where:            Cal State L.A.’s University Athletic Stadium, at the southeast corner of the campus.  The University is located at the Eastern Avenue exit, San Bernardino (I-10) freeway, at the interchange of the 10 and 710 freeways.

Info:               For more information, go to

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Working for Californiaia since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 215,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students, opening in fall 2011. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.