Their Say

Their Say

The road to graduation is a dynamic personal experience, consisting of triumphant peaks and challenging valleys. So it's not surprising that many graduates use decorations on their caps and gowns to express what the journey means to them. Cal State L.A. Today asks some of the latest crop of alumni: What's the story behind your commencement decorations?

  • Walter Chiu
    Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering

    “Good afternoon. My name is Walter Chiu. I'm an electrical engineering graduate and the decorations I have on me: this one is for Eta Kappa Nu it's for electrical engineering honors society. And this one's for Tau Beta Pi and that is for all of engineering. The red and white set of cords goes with Tau Beta Pi, the yellow is for Eta Kappa Nu and the red, white and blue is for veteran's honors society, SALUTE, and this one is the veteran graduate cord.”

  • Cecilia Martinez
    Bachelor's Degree in Child Development

    “My name is Cecilia Martinez. My major is child development. My mom actually passed away three months ago from cancer. I had promised her that I would graduate. So this one's for her.”

  • Jeremy Weber
    Bachelor's Degree in Communications

    “I'm Jeremy Weber. I'm graduating from the communications department. The story behind my hat is that it was my favorite band growing up, Wu-Tang Clan, and there's baseball stitching in it because I'm a baseball player at Cal State L.A. We're the conference champions this year.”

  • Mariana Astorga
    Master of Arts in Education, Curriculum and Instruction

    “Hi my name is Mariana Astorga. I'm getting a master's in education in curriculum and instruction. And what I'm wearing today: these yellow cords represent Pi Lambda Theta, which is an honors society for educators. And underneath I'm wearing my Phi Kappa Phi regalia and that represents that I was in the top 10 percent of graduate students in GPA.”

  • Victor Sibrian
    Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

    “The hat says 'started from the bottom now I'm here'. (I was) born and raised in Huntington Park. Anybody who knows anything about Huntington Park, knows we've got a high poverty rate. Most of our kids don't even make it to senior graduation. And this is to show that I started from the bottom now I'm here, getting my bachelor's in social work. I'm proud of myself and that's what this hat represents for me.”

  • Lorena Bernal
    Bachelor's Degree in Sociology

    “My name is Lorena Bernal and I am graduating with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in social gerontology. I am actually graduating with honors, so I have an Honors cord and I joined Phi Alpha Phi and I have the stole and the cord to go along with it. My parents actually bought that for me when we went to the initiation ceremony. My stole I got custom made. It has my name on it and it also has my degree because I'm very proud of my department. As far as my hat, I am a little bit unique when it comes to the things that I like and one of those things is mustaches. I absolutely love mustaches. I don't know what it is about them, so I really wanted to represent that today, so I went to the fabric store, cut out a mustache and I pasted it on there. I also have five different patches and they represent each of my family members. I have two hearts for my parents, I have a robot for my brother who loves science, I have a daisy for my sister Daisy, and I have a butterfly for my sister who loves butterflies and a bee for my brother who is an avid Wu-Tang Clan fan because of the Killer Bees. So I just wanted to represent that and of course the big saying on my cap that says 'The tassel is worth the hassle,' because of course, everything that we go through comes down to this day.”

  • Kwai Lai
    Bachelor's Degree in Finance

    “Hi, my name is Kwai Lai. I graduate as a business major in the option of finance. The story of my hat is I noticed a lot of people who were decorating their hats and when we're walking it's hard to see what you've decorated. So my friends came up with the idea of making a big old arrow or big old sign and stick it on your hat so when you're walking they can spot you. So my friends did it and this is the result. I did it for my parents to see, so I told them I'm going to be the one with the red arrow. I'm hoping no one has it sticking out too. So far I haven't seen any; so far it's a good job.”

  • J. Patrick Vincent
    Master's in Electrical Engineering

    “Hi my name is Patrick Vincent. I'm graduating today with a master's in electrical engineering. This is a hood with the colors of my college, which is the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology. I have a couple different honor awards that I'm wearing today. This one is Beta Kappa Nu, which is the electrical engineering honors society. This one (orange and white cords) is for Tau Beta Pi, which is a general engineering honors society. And this one (medal on blue ribbon) is from Phi Kappa Phi, which is a general honors society.”