News Release| Commencement 2011; Cal State L.A.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to address Cal State L.A.’s Class of 2011

Keynote speaker was first Latina elected to state senate

Los Angeles, CA – U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, the first Latina elected to the California State Senate, will address California State University, Los Angeles’ (CSULA) Class of 2011 on Friday, June 10, at 5 p.m., the first of two commencement ceremonies that will confer more than 5,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The ceremony will honor graduates from CSULA’s Charter College of Education, College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, and the College of Health and Human Services.

“I am a proud product of the California State University system, and I represented CSULA in the U.S. Congress, so I know first-hand the incredible impact this university has had in the surrounding community,” said Solis. “From providing access to an affordable first-rate education, to creating a much needed boost to the local economy, CSULA continues to deliver on a promise of opportunity for those who need it the most. I’m especially honored to deliver this commencement address.”

Solis was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed to serve as Secretary of Labor in 2009. Prior to confirmation, she had represented the 32nd Congressional District in California since 2001.

Solis is a champion for expanding access to affordable health care, the environment, helping to better the lives of working families, and clean energy jobs. Her goals align with many of CSULA’s environmental education- and research-related efforts, its work toward educational access for everyone, and prowess as a major supplier of highly-educated employees for California’s workforce and beyond.

In 2007, Solis was appointed to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), as well as the Mexico — United States Interparliamentary Group. In June 2007, she was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission's General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She was the only elected U.S. official to serve on this Committee.

She also served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994. As the chairwoman of the California Senate Industrial Relations Committee, Solis led the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour. She also authored 17 state laws designed to confront domestic violence.

In 2000, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her work on environmental justice issues. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation to become law.

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On Saturday, June 11, at 8 a.m., Cal State L.A. will confer degrees to graduates of the College of Arts and Letters, College of Business and Economics, and College of Natural and Social Sciences. Saturday’s keynote speaker will be California State Controller John Chiang.

Working for Californiaia since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 215,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students, opening in fall 2011. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.