FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/05/96
Contact: Carol Selkin
Director, Public Information
or Margie Yu,
Public Affairs Assistant
CAL STATE L.A. COMMENCEMENT IS SAT., JUNE 8
CSLA Class of '96 includes a 19-year-old summa cum laude
three honor-student sisters, a 74+-year-old grandmother;
a special education doctoral recipient and an
electrical engineering major/physics minor with an interest
in music and passion for photography
Los Angeles, CA -- June 5, 1996 -- The 49th Commencement
ceremonies at California State University, Los Angeles will
take place on Saturday, June 8, 1996, in the University
Athletic Stadium, located at the southeast corner of the campus.
The academic procession will start at 8:15 a.m. and the
formal exercises are scheduled to end at approximately 10 a.m.
Department and program receptions in various campus locations
will follow the ceremony.
This year's featured speaker will be Fermin Cuza, vice
president of Mattel Toys and the University's 1994 Distinguished
Alumnus from the School of Business and Economics. Larry Adamson,
director of administrative services for the Automobile Club of
Southern California and past president of Cal State L.A.'s Alumni
Association, will be receiving the prestigious CSU Alumni Volunteer
of the Year award from the California State University system's
More than 20,000 people are expected at this year's graduation
to witness the conferral of over 770 master's degrees and 2,660
Among the outstanding CSLA students receiving degrees this year
- 19-year-old biology major and summa cum laude graduate
Timothy Yeh, who entered Cal State L.A. at 13 and will be attending medical school in the
- sisters and honor students Ana Lilia, Maria Elena and
Martha Lira, cum laude, magna cum laude and
magna cum laude graduates, respectively, each receiving
a B.A. in Spanish;
- "74-and-five-twelfths"-year-old grandmother and
former fashion designer Molly Rudnick Klasky, who will
receive her B.A. in Art;
- Eduardo Urgiles, an electrical engineering major and
physics minor whose interests embrace the sciences and the arts,
(he has spent the past 3 summers at the National Renewable Energy
Labs under a Dept. of Energy MAERC research fellowship -- his
imaginative time-exposure photographs have been on view in two
- Rebecca Dodge Golub, Cal State L.A./UCLA joint doctoral
recipient in Special Education.
For more information, photos or for interviews, call CSLA Public
Affairs, (323) 343-3050.
Timothy Yeh, B.S., biology
San Marino resident Timothy Yeh is one of the Early Entrance
Program (EEP) students graduating this June from Cal State L.A.
The EEP admits outstanding youngsters 14 and under to the University,
providing them with support programs and special advisement.
It is the only such program serving the greater Los Angeles area,
and one of only two in the western United States.
Yeh started his college career at the young age of 13, and will
be graduating summa cum laude, the highest honor given
to CSLA graduates, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
Now 19, Tim admits he was nervous at the start of his college
career, but says that he ultimately made good friends both from
the EEP and outside the program. He describes his experience
at CSLA as enriching, praising the quality of his professors,
and says he has benefited from the opportunity to interact one-on-one
with the faculty and from the University's diverse campus community.
Despite his busy schedule of studying, attending classes and working
in the labs, Tim has found time to volunteer with Circle K --
a community service organization -- and with L.A. County-USC Medical
Center and Huntington Hospital as a candy-striper.
A very focused individual, Timothy Yeh has aimed his course work
and extracurricular activities toward becoming a physician --
he likes working with people and he finds it challenging to combine
humanitarian concerns with academic pursuit. He also comments
that one of his other goals is to have a more active voice in
the Asian American community. Tim has recently been accepted
to one medical school and is still waiting to hear from several
others. But he is definitely enthusiastic about his acceptance.
He declares, "It's great to have my foot in the door, and
the support of my family and close friends has been a major motivating
factor for me."
"Timothy Yeh is a very impressive student," says Howard
Rosen, Tim's biology professor. "With his intelligence,
drive and personality, I have no qualms that he will do well in
Ana Lilia, Maria Elena and Martha Lira, B.A., Spanish
Three out of four sisters attending Cal State L.A. will be graduating
with high honors this June: Ana Lilia Lira will be graduating
cum laude, her sisters Martha and Maria Elena will be magna
cum laude graduates -- each receiving a Bachelor of Arts in
Born in Mexico (Martha and Ana Lilia in Tepatitlan, Maria Elena
in Guadalajara), the sisters came with their family to the United
States only 10 years ago. The trio is so close that they are
even prone to finishing each other's sentences, and each continued
to reinforce her sisters' education at various levels -- plunging
into general education courses alongside English as a Second Language
classes. As children, the three agree, their language training
was rigorous -- "our school in Mexico was very demanding,
very strict," says Maria Elena. The sisters were superior
students of Spanish by high school, and were in demand for all
levels of tutoring. Achieving their A.A. degrees at Glendale Community
College, they decided as a unit, to study for their B.A. degrees
at Cal State L.A. "No one at home had a degree," says
Martha, "and we thought, 'why not try?' We never had any
doubts we could handle the work."
Members of Golden Key and Sigma Delta Pi honor societies (in a
rare move, the latter language honor society awarded all three
the Gabriela Mistral Prize for outstanding undergraduate work
in 1996), the Liras have been admitted to CSLA's Master's program
in Spanish. "They are among our very best students,"
says Domnita Dumitrescu, with whom the three sisters have studied
linguistics and who has "seen them flourish" at Cal
State L.A. "They have a great sensitivity to the language,"
she says, "and they're more than just gifted academically
-- they have a wonderful attitude. They are outstanding people."
All three currently assist teachers at local elementary schools:
Martha at John Marshall in grades 3 and 4, Maria Elena at Horace
Mann in 4th and 5th grades, and Ana Lilia at John Marshall at
the Kindergarten level.
The three are not the only members of their family on the Cal
State L.A. campus -- their sister Teresa is also a Spanish major
and an honors student. A fifth sister, Ofelia, is majoring in
art at CSLA. But perhaps, says Martha, there will be more Liras
on campus by next year -- "our youngest sister Carla may
be coming to Cal State L.A. in the fall!"
Molly Rudnick Klasky, B.A., art
Monterey Park resident Molly Klasky already has her A.A.
degree from East L.A. College, where she graduated cum laude
She even has a credential to teach adult education, which she
has done, in the Alhambra School District. But on June 8, the
grandmother will receive her B.A. in art with an option in studio
art. "She is a wonderful painter, and a beautiful person,"
says Joe Soldate, chair of Cal State L.A.'s art department. Artistic
by nature, Molly worked for years in the fashion industry: "I
didn't start out as a designer," she says, explaining that
she worked at many different jobs in the field, building her career
by learning the business from the ground up. While working, she
took courses at L.A. Trade Tech and through UCLA Extension to
gain further expertise in her field. "I never painted, though,"
she says, clearly enjoying her new artistic expression -- "I
intend to continue with it!"
Eduardo Urgiles, B.S., electrical engineering
Nine of Eduardo Urgiles' evocative, hand-tinted photographs
were featured in the juried student art exhibition at Cal State
L.A. this year. But he is not an art major, nor is he a music
major, even though he plays the guitar and aspires to play the
saxophone. Ed is an electrical engineering major and physics
minor with a broad range of interests that encompass both the
arts and the sciences. He has spent the past three summers doing
research at the National Renewable Energy Labs under a Dept. of
Energy Fellowship administered by the Associated Western Universities,
and has participated in the DOE's MAERC (Minority Access to Energy-Related
Research Careers) program at Cal State L.A. since 1992. His sophisticated
research project on "Vapor Chemical Reaction Growth of Germanium
Oxide," outlining the development of materials that can be
used for solar cells, won first prize at the 1994 CSU research
competition. His work, done under the guidance of CSLA Physics
Professor Charles Coleman, has also resulted in a published article;
further results were presented at a meeting of the American Physical
Society in Saint Louis this past March.
Born in Quito, Ecuador, Ed came to the United States when he was
8 years old. "My reading level was zero," he recalls,
"but by the end of third grade I had passed most of the kids
in the class." At Southgate Junior High he was put in an
English as a Second Language class, but had himself transferred
out, jumping straight into a special leadership program. It was
there that he became interested in photography, working on the
school yearbook, getting involved in the school's audio-visual
program and taking special classes. By eighth grade he had become
student body president, delivering the graduation speech. In
high school, he continued to excel in math and science, while
also pursuing his interest in photography. Ed eventually transferred
to Cal State L.A. from Harvey Mudd College at the suggestion of
Cal State L.A. Professor Frieda Stahl, who was doing research
at Harvey Mudd at the time.
As for a long-term career, Ed is still looking for a job that
blends his many talents and interests: his work in electronmicroscopy
at the NREL has come about as close as he can imagine, so far.
He has also thought about doing graduate work in photography
-- perhaps at Brooks Institute or Art Center College of Design
-- but financial considerations have made him put aside those
dreams for now. Research seems to be part of his nature "I
enjoy solving problems," he says. In an essay two years
ago, Ed wrote: ". . . our dependence on fossil fuels, being
able to live comfortably [while] leaving those in the future [a]
place to live, and disposing materials generated by our current
alternative energy sources . . . The solutions to these problems
will open up many possibilities for our future . . . but it is
only through continued research that these solutions will be attained."
But will he abandon photography? Not likely, as Ed reminds us,
"I've been doing photography longer than I've been doing
Rebecca Dodge Golub, CSLA/UCLA joint Ph.D. in Special
Conquering the Odds refers both to the odds that seemed
weighted against Rebecca Dodge Golub earning a Ph.D. in Special
Education and to the title of her very weighty doctoral
dissertation, Conquering the Odds: Improving School Services
to Mexican-American Secondary School Students in the U.S. Schools
From 1988-1990. This year, Rebecca is the only candidate
at Cal State L.A.'s Commencement to receive a doctorate under
the joint CSLA/UCLA degree program in special education. Married,
with two young children and a full-time job as a school psychologist,
Rebecca persevered, despite the fact that, last year, her husband's
job necessitated a move to Palm Desert -- a two-hour drive to
school for her. How did she do it? "I can't say enough
about Cal State L.A.'s Anna Bing Arnold Child Care Center,"
she enthuses. "The program was wonderful. And Cal State
L.A. as a whole is very supportive of working parents."
The challenge wasn't exactly a surprise: "I knew it would
take a huge commitment," says Rebecca, who earned her B.A.
in Psychology from UCLA and her M.A. at Cal State L.A. in school
psychology and counseling. Starting as a teacher's aide, Rebecca
has worked as a teacher, a school counselor, a special education
teacher and, finally, a school psychologist -- most recently for
the William S. Hart School District in Santa Clarita County.
"I always liked working with kids, especially handicapped
kids," she says. "While I was doing my internship,
I was working -- alongside psychiatrists and clinical psychologists
-- with autistic children, abused children . . . I knew I needed
more training to help my students . . . I needed that Ph.D.!"
As a child, Rebecca suffered from physical disabilities that included
legs that needed straightening and respiratory problems, difficulties
that caused her family to resettle in Tucson, Arizona. There,
her schooling took place on the Pima reservation. "We were
in contact with Pima Indians, lots of Taiwanese immigrants, Mexican-American
kids -- it was a very multicultural environment," she says.
"I had a great education there . . . we sat on the floor
-- there was a lot of interaction in our education. When we moved
to L.A., I had to sit in rows in school and listen to 'lectures'
-- it was a culture shock" which landed her in a special
education class, says Rebecca. Although she subsequently skipped
two grades, the experience helped shape her interest in the way
children learn. "I've always been interested in knowing
what the risk factor was [for students]," she says, "especially