News Release| Commencement 2012; Cal State L.A.

June 11, 2012

Note: To make arrangements for photos or interviews, call the Cal State L.A. Public Affairs Office in advance at (323) 343-3050.

Media Advisory

Cal State L.A.’s Commencement June 15-16

Teen grad, legally-blind doctorate student, award-winning researcher,
triple-degree honor student among CSULA’s Class of 2012

Los Angeles, CA – A two-day festivity filled with renowned keynote speakers, pride and celebration, California State University, Los Angeles will confer more than 5,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees at this year’s Commencement exercises June 15 and 16.

The Friday 5 p.m. ceremony will honor graduates in the Charter College of Education; College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology; and College of Health and Human Services. Its keynote speaker will be Children’s Hospital Los Angeles CEO/President Richard D. Cordova.

The Saturday 8 a.m. ceremony will honor graduates in the College of Arts and Letters; College of Business and Economics; and College of Natural and Social Sciences. Its speaker will be U.S. Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Eduardo M. Ochoa.

The following are among the thousands of stories of pride and persistence amid the Class of 2012:

  • Twenty-one undergraduates in the Early Entrance Program (EEP)—ages 16-20—will receive baccalaureate degrees this weekend, including 18-year-old business administration major Daniel Pyon (Montebello resident), who was selected for the University’s Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship. After marching at the Saturday Commencement, Pyon will pursue a Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School starting next fall.

  • Robert David Black (Baldwin Park resident), whose eyesight failed while he was considering graduate school, was undaunted, learned Braille and proceeded with his academic goals. For his courage, high academic standing and his perseverance and commitment to his education, he was honored with CSU Trustee’s $10,000 Ali C. Razi Scholarship in 2010. Coincidentally, Black is also a member of the first cohort of graduates enrolled in the University’s new doctoral program in educational leadership. The independent Ed.D. program was launched at CSULA in fall 2009. Black and 10 other CSULA students will be conferred their doctoral degrees at the Friday Commencement. 

  • First in her family to attend college, Desiree Chagolla (Monterey Park resident) will dedicate her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in social gerontology to her grandmother who raised her. Juggling between work and school, Chagolla also recently adopted her six-year-old brother, who was placed in the foster system due to child neglect. She will march at the Saturday Commencement. 

  • A triple force in the literal sense, Emerzon Antonio Cruz Guandique (South Los Angeles resident) will be achieving three degrees this spring—an M.S. and B.S. in mechanical engineering and a B.S. in engineering with a special option in manufacturing engineering. He is currently an intern for the American Technical Service Inc. at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division. Making a difference on campus, he was involved with the University’s Rehabilitation Engineering Lab, working with a team to create an orthotic hand for a staff member at the University and a separate team to create a bath transfer system for a child of another campus employee. A Dean’s List student, he will march at the Friday Commencement. 

  • An award-winning research student, Angela Guerrero (Downey resident), at 18, will attend Stanford Medical School after marching at the Saturday Commencement. Guerrera, who received accolades for her study about “Photooxidation of the antioxidant trans-resveratrol,” is one of 20 Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) students beginning doctorate programs this fall. They will study in prestigious programs at such colleges as Caltech, Claremont Graduate University, Cornell University, Harvard University, UCLA, and UC Irvine. 

Both 2012 Commencement ceremonies will be streamed live. The web streams will be broadcast through Cal State L.A.’s Eagles Live Cast at /eagleslive/.

The Commencement will be held at Cal State L.A.’s University Athletic Stadium, at the southeast corner of the campus. The University is located at the Eastern Avenue exit, San Bernardino (I-10) freeway, at the interchange of the 10 and 710 freeways. For more information, go to

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Working for California 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 220,000 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. 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.