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Sacramento State officially welcomes new students into the Hornet Family during inaugural Convocation

At the first New Student and Family Convocation ceremonies, parents and supporters fastened “Hornet for Life” pins to their students and students presented them with their own pins reading “Hornet Family" to welcome one another to the campus community. (Sacramento State/Bibiana Ortiz)

President Luke Wood, along with faculty and staff, welcomed more than 700 new students to the Sacramento State “hive” during the University’s inaugural New Student and Family Convocation on Aug. 24.

“Think of our hive as the community of people who reside within the Sac State family,” Wood said. “That is why you may hear me refer to the University as ‘our Sacramento State.’ Our Sac State means that the University belongs to this community.”

“This University belongs to you. You are not a guest. This is your hive. This is your home.”

The event marked the University’s first Convocation for incoming Hornets, a rite of passage symbolizing the beginning of a student’s academic career, much the way Commencement marks the completion.

All newly admitted first-year, transfer and graduate students were invited to attend with their families and supporters, held across two ceremonies in the University Union Ballroom. More than 700 students registered, and each ceremony drew a full crowd of roughly 1,000 attendees, including faculty and staff.

“It gives you some motivation as you’re coming into school. It really shows you the community at Sac State and the people you’re surrounded with and how great the experience is going to be." -- Sukhdeep Hayer, first-year Business student

Wood acknowledged the ceremony’s connection to Commencement, the two milestones serving as bookends to students’ time at Sac State.

“There’s nothing I look forward to more than when I will have the privilege of hearing your name read and seeing you walk across the stage and honoring your achievements,” Wood said.

Sac State cheerleaders and the marching band greeted students and families as they entered the ballroom. Mirroring Commencement, the event then began with a procession of University administrators and deans dressed in their formal academic regalia. Later, the dean of each academic college recognized the new students under their wing.

To symbolize their induction into the Hornet Family, parents and supporters affixed enamel “Hornet for Life” pins to their students, who in turn acknowledged their loved ones by presenting them with their own welcome pins reading “Hornet Family.”

“The pins for me and my family were something … memorable,” first-year student Josue Pallares said. “My mom got emotional when I did it, so it’s something she enjoyed.”

Wood assured students’ families and supporters that Sac State faculty and staff share a vested interest in their success.

“We will not rest, we will not stand still until we support them in achieving their goals and walk across that stage,” Wood said.

Michelle Marmolejo, a graduate student in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Lodi, attended with her mom and two younger sisters.

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President Wood, college deans and others wore full regalia during the inaugural Convocation ceremonies.
Similar to Commencement tradition, Preisdent Luke Wood, at the podium, college deans and other members of the Hornet Family wore their formal academic regalia during the inaugural New Student and Family Convocation ceremonies, an acknowledgement of the two milestones serving as bookends of students’ college journeys. (Sacramento State/Bibiana Ortiz)

“Being the first one from my family to be accepted into a master’s program, it’s welcoming to know that we’re having a ceremony to celebrate and honor us. It shows all the hard work is paying off,” said Marmolejo, a 2020 Sac State alumnus.

“It’s really nice to be able to include my family in this new chapter I’m stepping into.”

Bobby Hayer, of Lincoln, said he and his son were proud to participate in Sac State history.

“This was an eye-opening, wonderful ceremony,” Hayer said. “This is such a good university. It already gives us a sense of what we’re going to see, that this is a very caring environment.

“A university that can welcome students like this can take care of them. We’re very proud to be here.”

Sukhdeep Hayer, a first-year Business student, agreed.

“It gives you some motivation as you’re coming into school,” he said. “It really shows you the community at Sac State and the people you’re surrounded with and how great the experience is going to be.”

Wood, himself a Sac State alum, closed his remarks by encouraging students to get involved on campus and use their education to make a difference in the world.

“It’s not about your degree or your goal to become a scientist or business leader or health care professional,” he said. “It’s about what you will do once you are empowered with that title, or role, to change the world. I urge you to get involved and to consider your purpose and how you will change and improve our world.

“Our hive. Our home.”

University Communications Writer/Content Editor Daniel Wilson contributed to this story.


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About Jennifer K. Morita

Jennifer K. Morita joined Sacramento State in 2022. A former newspaper reporter for the Sacramento Bee, she spent several years juggling freelance writing with being a mom. When she isn’t chauffeuring her two daughters, she enjoys reading mysteries, experimenting with recipes, and Zumba.

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