More than 5,300 Sacramento State graduates – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and credential candidates from the seven academic colleges – were eligible to walk across the stage during six ceremonies May 19-20 at Golden 1 Center.
The jubilant occasion was historic on two fronts: the largest number of eligible graduates for a Spring Commencement in Sac State’s 70-year history and the City of Sacramento’s first civic event at Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings. (Sac State’s Winter 2016 Commencement was the final public event at Sleep Train Arena.)
President Robert S. Nelsen presided over the six ceremonies. "Our students, all of you, all of the graduates of the class of 2017, are amazing," he said. "Sac State is truly changing the face and the heart of Sacramento and California."
Nelsen congratulated each graduate and the winners of the President's and Dean's Awards. He also presented the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service to Garry Maisel ’80 (Business Administration-Finance), president and CEO of Western Health Advantage.
In addition, Nelsen conferred two honorary degrees on behalf of Sacramento State and the California State University: a Doctor of Humane Letters to Cheryl Dell ’82 (Communication Studies), former president and publisher of The Sacramento Bee, and Ephraim Williams, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
Among the Spring graduates was Anthony Sadler, a kinesiology major who, with two childhood friends, helped to subdue a gunman – and likely prevent a mass killing – on a train from Amsterdam to Paris in 2015. A movie depicting their heroism is in the works from director Clint Eastwood.
"Today is a proud day – a day that we will always remember," Nelsen said in concluding his remarks. "Today, graduates, thanks to the faculty, your family and friends, you truly are Made at Sac State."
And he ended his words to the graduates as he always does: "SAC STATE IS NUMBER ONE. STINGERS UP!"
The six ceremonies (the Colleges of Business Administration and Education were combined into one ceremony) were live-streamed, and a free viewing party was held in the University Union, Redwood Room. – Dixie Reid