The Best Advice CSU Commencement Speakers Gave the Class of 2015

Elizabeth Chapin




The CSU’s Class of 2015 was sent off with advice on how to navigate the world as new college grads. We gathered the top 10 words of wisdom from this year’s commencement ceremonies:

William “Bill” Kearney, senior vice president, Merrill Lynch, CSU Channel Islands
“If you’re passionate about everything you do and you take every single duty and task like a beneficiary instead of a victim, you never have to reach for success; you will be lifted.

Forest Whitaker, artist and humanitarian, CSU Dominguez Hills
“You must always ask yourself if you’re standing up for what is right, if you’re spending time with the people close to you, if you’re treating others with kindness and compassion. These questions are your moral compass; they’re your north star.”

Richard Lui, anchor, MSNBC, CSU Fullerton
“My grandfather gave up his birth name to come to this country to seek new opportunities. He went from being a farmer to being a barber. I challenge you all to become personal innovators like he was. Do something you didn’t think you could do.”

Hugo Morales, executive director, Radio Bilingüe, CSU Trustee, CSU Monterey Bay
“As you begin the next chapter of your life, please don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference. You will find a way. Yes, it can be done. Si se puede. Your graduation today speaks volumes that it can be done.”

Maricela Gonzalez, new graduate and Dean’s Award recipient, CSU San Marcos
“The only way to have a voice is through education. We can advocate for those who do not have a voice.”

Mike Thompson, U.S. Congressman, Sonoma State
“No matter how many times you fall down, just make sure it’s less than the number of times you get back up”

Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Congresswoman, San Jose State
“As you leave here, have confidence that you are ready. Know that you have been empowered by the strength of your values, the excellence of your education, and the love of your families. When you encounter your opportunities, be ready. When my moment came, I was ready. I knew my power. My prayer for you is that you know your power.”

Jane Close Conoley, president, CSU Long Beach, CSU Long Beach
“Be grateful every day for what you have, instead of focusing only on what you want. Notice how your life is enriched by others’ support and love. This selective attention is difficult to do, but it will make you happy and add to your success.”

Lester Holt, anchor, NBC Nightly News, Sacramento State
“When you think about making it to the top, ask yourself ‘what exactly is the top?’ One of the things I’ve discovered is that sometimes we’re so busy climbing that ladder of success, we forget to pause on the rung that we’re on to look around and enjoy the view. Sometimes, the view’s a lot better than you might have imagined.”

Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, San Francisco State
“Take account. Life can either happen to you or for you. You’ve got to step up. You’ve got to step in. Don’t be a bystander.”