STUDENT STORIES

Payam Hojjat, BS - Management Information Systems

Payam Hojjat


Payam Hojjat, 2016 graduate of the College of Business Administration, has been awarded the President's Medal by Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen.

From Dr. Nelsen:

"As President, I have the honor of selecting one of the recipients of the Dean’s Award to receive the President’s Medal. The Dean’s Award honors one outstanding student from each college who exemplifies academic excellence, community involvement, and engagement within his or her college and on campus. Many of these students have overcome incredible odds and heartbreaking experiences to earn their degree. I was honored to meet and hear the stories of Dean’s Awardees Stephanie Gin (Arts and Letters), Payam Hojjat (Business Administration), Nicole Hunter (Education), Christopher Potts (Engineering and Computer Science), Melissa Bardo (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), Jennifer Herring (Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies), and Maricela Cortes (Health and Human Services). Each exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet, and we could not be more proud of them. 

Out of these extraordinary students, I selected Payam Hojjat from the College of Business Administration to receive the President’s Medal. Payam was proclaimed a genius at the age of 8 and was set on the fast track to move through the educational system. At age 10, he began having seizures due to abnormal brain activity, and in the next few months, he experienced 72 grand mal seizures. He did not know his own name, and millions of his brain cells died with each seizure. It is a miracle that Payam survived. 

Payam clearly has a natural talent and intellect, but it is his effort and determination to relearn and retrain his brain that makes his story incredible. He spent years in the hospital, but managed to complete high school in just two years. It takes him two to three times longer than other students to complete his schoolwork and understand the concepts he learns in class, but that did not stop him. Through his own force of will and with the help of his faculty and the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities, he has persevered through constant frustration and endless hours of extra studying time to graduate. 

Although he has earned a high GPA and will graduate with honors, his achievements are not limited to academics. Payam served as President of the Management Information Systems Association and was one of the founders of the Sufi Psychology Association. He also gives back to the community as a soccer referee for youth programs. Payam will graduate Saturday with his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. After graduation, he plans to earn both his master’s degree and doctorate, and he hopes to return to Sac State and teach in order to give back to the students here in the way that his teachers gave to him.

Sac State is filled with thousands of stories of courageous students who are determined to get an education despite true hardship and incredible challenges. I am honored to award Payam Hojjat the President’s Medal, and I know that he will continue to make us proud as a member of the Sac State alumni."