CSUB set for 38th commencement ceremony

May 27, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu

California State University, Bakersfield will celebrate its 38th commencement Friday and Saturday, June 6 and 7, with over 1,500 members of the class of 2008 being recognized at five ceremonies.

This is the first year two separate ceremonies will be held for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to accommodate the growing number of graduates and guests.

The prospective graduates will don their caps and gowns to participate in the ceremonies, which culminate their education. Of the 1,543 students eligible to participate in the spring ceremonies, 285 are from the School of Business and Public Administration, 266 are from the School of Education, 830 are from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and 158 are from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Four are graduating with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

The number of students actually awarded degrees is usually somewhat less than the number eligible to participate in the commencement ceremonies. Officials expect that of those eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies this spring, about 1,400 will receive degrees when record verification is complete sometime in August.

Following winter 2007 commencement, 512 students were awarded degrees, bringing the total for the 2007-08 academic year to 2,055 prior to record verification for spring candidates. CSUB graduated 1,632 students in the 2006-07 academic year.

The commencement ceremonies are as follows:

The first ceremony will be for the following majors: anthropology, counseling psychology, English, French, history, interdisciplinary studies, psychology, sociology, social work and Spanish. Master's candidates will be hooded at Friday's commencement; there will not be a separate hooding ceremony.

Commencement speaker: Robert Yohe, CSUB anthropology professor

Yohe spends his summers working as the senior osteologist (bone specialist) for the El-Hibeh Archaeological Project in Egypt. His expertise in human osteology and animal remains are helping to unravel the mystery surrounding 13 mummies and a number of artifacts that he has helped to salvage. His work was recently featured on Discovery Channel's "The Bone Detective."

Commencement speaker: Jean Fuller, Assemblywoman 32nd district

Fuller was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2006 to represent the 32nd Assembly District, which includes Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Taft, Kern River Valley, and the Frazier Mountain communities. Fuller is a member of Assembly Republican Leader Michael Villines' leadership team and serves as a Republican Whip. Prior to the Assembly, Fuller served as superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District.

Commencement speaker: Michael Olague, Rabobank's senior vice president and director of retail sales and service

Olague, who holds a bachelor's in business from CSUB, is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the tactical initiatives that support the organization's policies, goals and objectives of the bank. His responsibilities include contributions to the formulation, development, recommendation, implementation and administration of bank wide policies and business goals.

The second ceremony is for the following majors: art, communications, criminal justice, liberal studies, music, philosophy, political science, religious studies, special major and theatre.

Commencement speaker: William "Bill" Thomas, former 28 year-member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Thomas spent his career strengthening health care, reducing tax burdens, advocating free and open trade, and protecting workers' pensions. As chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, he led legislative reforms that ranged from international and national issues to matters impacting Bakersfield, Kern County and San Joaquin Valley communities. He is currently a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a national think tank that brings together some of the country's most accomplished public policy experts. Thomas will receive an honorary doctorate from CSUB during the ceremony.

Commencement speaker: Kimberly Horton, vice president and chief nursing officer, Mercy Hospital

Prior to assuming her current health care administrative role, Horton has served as the vice president for clinical services for Bakersfield Heart Hospital, director of the adult sickle cell program at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno during which time she received the "Woman of the Year," citation of excellence for community service. Horton was also recognized by the San Joaquin Valley Health Care Consortium and was awarded the Registered Nurse of the Year for Clinical Practice Award. In 2008, she also received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award, given by the Association of California Nurse Leaders.

The university will hold a reception for Antelope Valley graduates on Sunday, June 1 at 3 p.m. at the Hellenic Center in Lancaster. State Sen. George Runner and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner will be guest speakers. Officials report the CSUB Antelope Valley Center campus will graduate its 1,000th student this spring.

Each school recognizes honor graduates at separate events prior to commencement.