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VALLEY PERSPECTIVE

Graduation Day

May 28, 2000

In ceremonies this weekend and throughout the week, an estimated 6,686 Cal State Northridge students will cross a stage, shake hands, receive their bachelor's or master's degrees and--with equal parts euphoria and apprehension--begin new, post-college, post-graduate-school lives.

But first, they will have to sit through the commencement speeches.

At least they didn't have to write the speeches. And they're luckier still in CSUN's choice of speakers, some of whom graciously shared their wisdom with us in advance. Their words apply as much to old graduates as to new.

Ronald G. Blom, a CSUN alumnus and geologist specializing in applications of space technology at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will tell graduates of the College of Science and Mathematics:

"Amazing things can happen when you get talented people with different backgrounds together committed to the same goal. Conversely, if you immerse yourself in groups of people similar to yourself, little significant progress or insight will be gained. Academic departments and start-up companies formed exclusively of techno-nerds are likely to not capitalize on opportunities because they often think too much alike."

Felix Gutierrez, senior vice president and executive director of the Freedom Forum in San Francisco, will tell graduates of the College of Arts, Media and Communication:

"As California continues to attract people and build a society of all races and cultures, the graduates who want to succeed will need to be bilingual and bicultural. If not, you'll be by yourself."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will tell graduates of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences:

"Too often in America today, we see a tendency to value people not by their contributions to the community or their commitment to the less fortunate but by the size of their investment portfolios. This tendency we must resist. I would suggest instead that the greatest men and women we honor in history are noted not for the wealth they amassed but for the good they accomplished in our world. And I sincerely hope, as you cast your eyes foward toward a boundless future, that you, too, will pursue careers in which you can make a positive difference to your community and to our society."

And award-winning ABC news correspondent Judy Muller will tell the 1,100 graduates recognized for scholastic or personal achievements at CSUN's Honors Convocation:

"Develop a healthy distrust of so-called experts and never aspire to be one yourself. Approach every experience as though you are a beginner. Never hesitate to ask what you think might be a dumb question because chances are that everyone around you is dying to know the answer too, but is so worried about looking good that no one asks. In other words, if you assume you know nothing you will be open to everything. An open mind is a rare commodity. Be rare."

What more can be said? Only this:

Congratulations.

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