When the youngest of the five Alie siblings, Jawad, completes spring commencement
along with more than 3,600 other students at California State University, Sacramento
May 21 and 22, the four brothers and sister will share seven college degrees,
all earned at CSUS.
Jawad’s participation in the College of Business Administration’s
ceremony at noon, Saturday, May 22 in Hornet Stadium will be the culmination
of a family dream.
“From an early age my dad ingrained in us the importance of education
and how much that can translate into opportunity, “ says Mike Alie, who
has a bachelor’s degree in psychology (1992) and a graduate degree in
graphic design and art (1997) from CSUS.
Adnan Alie, father of the five, never made it past the third grade in his native
Palestine, leaving school to work the family olive orchards. His wife, Fay,
left high school an A-student at 16, devoting herself to her new role as wife
and later mother.
“We like to think the two extra degrees were earned for our parents,”
Mike’s brother Neal was the first of the Alie children to graduate from
the University, earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1988.
He was followed by sister Manal, who earned bachelor’s degrees in English
literature (1991) and textiles merchandising and marketing (1994). Mike was
next in line, then came brothers Fares, who earned a bachelor’s degree
in business administration in 2002, and Jawad, who also will finish with a bachelor’s
degree in business administration.
Before coming to Sacramento, the family bounced around California, Hawaii and
the West Bank. Adnan quit farming to become a successful businessman, and the
family followed his career and his desire for his children to experience Palestinian
culture. “We left the West Bank in 1984 just as the political climate
was heating up, “ says Mike, now a graphic designer for the CSUS College
of Continuing Education. The family moved to Sacramento when Neal started at
“CSUS is a gorgeous school, the faculty’s incredible, “ says
Mike. “Some of my most inspiring learning happened while I was a student
here.” Jawad agrees, adding that he understands the significance of being
the last of the five siblings to graduate. “It’s like achieving
the ultimate goal, a whole family goal,” he says.
Adnan died in 2000 of pulmonary fibrosis, having watched three of his five children
cross the stage to receive their CSUS diplomas.
“My father was the kind of person who always looked to the future. He
said, ‘With education everything is a little easier. Education gives you
a lot of opportunities. Work hard and it will pay off later,’” says
Jawad. “No one can ever take that away from my family, that all five of
us have graduated from the same university.”
All five Alie siblings and their mother will be available to the media at the
College of Business Administration commencement ceremony at noon, Saturday,
May 22 in Hornet Stadium. For more information, call (916) 278-6156. On day
of event, call (916) 835-8870.