May 12, 2005

Distinguished graduates honored
with new Dean’s Award

Seven graduating Sacramento State students have been honored for outstanding achievement with the new Dean’s Award. Given for the first time this year, the award recognizes a top student from each of the University’s seven colleges.

During upcoming commencement ceremonies at the Sacramento State campus on May 20 and May 21, University President Alexander Gonzalez will award one of these students with the President’s Medallion. A complete schedule of commencement ceremonies can be found below.

Though the seven Dean’s Award recipients are as varied as the colleges where they study, each student balances strong academic performance with community involvement.

Luciano Arce graduates this month with bachelor’s degrees in economics and government from the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies 13 years after arriving in the United States from Mexico as an unskilled, undocumented immigrant who spoke no English. While running a grocery store in Winters with his brother, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and serving as a translator for small ranchers, Arce became a U.S. resident, earned his GED and in fall 2002 transferred to Sacramento State. He plans to enter the University’s master’s program in economics.

Nikky Chahon earns her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of Health and Human Services after a 35-year career as a registered nurse, including 19 years as a nurse manager of a local medical center’s critical care unit. During her community health nursing clinical rotation, Chahon won praise from the nursing faculty for her sensitive and skillful work with several high-risk families. She also helped organize “Organ Donation Day” on campus and assisted with examinations in the area of critical care for general nursing students at Sacramento State.

Brandon Jackson enrolled in Sacramento State as a single teenage father with no clear academic goal. Encouraged by a classmate and his freshman remedial math instructor, Jackson chose engineering as his major and soon became an honors student, serving as a tutor on campus and as a mentor to middle- and high-school students. Agilent Technologies in Roseville, where Jackson worked as an intern, recently hired Jackson as an engineer and chose him to be one of four engineers nationwide to take part in its new fast-track executive training program.

Melissa Johnson, a biological sciences major in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is “the best raw problem-solver I have encountered in the past nine years of teaching at the college level,” says Biological Sciences professor Jennifer Lundmark. Johnson’s
accomplishments include conducting primary research in the Dominican Republic, and being selected to the University’s McNair Scholars program, which aids students from under-represented populations. Johnson was recently among 12 students nationwide selected as prospective student researchers to work at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Tak-Kim Eddy Kwong, the Dean’s Award recipient from the College of Business Administration, hopes to become a business consultant and ultimately a university professor. An international student from Hong Kong, Kwong majors in management information systems. Since fall 2003, he has worked as a tutor for the Business Education Equity Program. He also serves as a mentor in the MIS 161 Alumni Group.

PuiChing Lam graduated with honors in fall 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in child development in the College of Education. As an international student, Lam overcame a difficult adjustment to life in the United States to become a successful student and active volunteer on campus and in the community. During her last semester, Lam volunteered in Sacramento State’s Child Care Center and at the Discovery Learning Center in Fair Oaks.

Stephanee Ruiz, a summa cum laude graduate in history from the College of Arts and Letters, attracted her professors’ attention with her motivation and thorough scholarship. A grader for several lower-division history courses, Ruiz received the Peter H. Shattuck Undergraduate Scholarship and is active in the local chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national history honor society. Ruiz recently took part in evaluating prospective History faculty. She plans to continue her history studies in Sacramento State’s master’s program.

Spring commencement ceremonies for each of the University’s seven colleges will take place on campus on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21. All graduates will assemble 30 minutes before their respective ceremonies at the practice track between Hornet Stadium and the baseball field, just west of Tahoe Hall.

The following colleges will hold commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 20: College of Arts and Letters, 12:30 p.m., Hornet Stadium; College of Engineering and Computer Science, 5:30 p.m., Outdoor Theatre; and College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, 7 p.m., Hornet Stadium.

Colleges holding commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, include: College of Health and Human Services, 8 a.m., Hornet Stadium; College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, 10 a.m., Outdoor Theatre; College of Business Administration, noon, Hornet Stadium; and College of Education: 6 p.m., Hornet Stadium.

More information about commencement is available at (916) 278-4724 and www.csus.edu/commence. Media assistance is available from the Sacramento State Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu