Public Affairs

Advice to the Class of 2011

June 9, 2011
By Elizabeth Chapin

From business moguls to campus presidents and student leaders, those addressing CSU’s class of 2011 were not short on words of wisdom. Keynote speeches addressed to new graduates shared inspirational messages as well as some practical advice.

If you dream big and follow these basic principles, success can be yours:

  • Honesty is the best policy – the only policy.
  • Do your homework and be prepared.
  • Never lose your sense of humor.
  • Always take the high road.

— Univision Network founder A. Jerrold “Jerry” Perenchio at Fresno State


One, continue learning. This degree will open doors for you, but we all know that the world is changing rapidly. Secondly, give back. We all know that within your chosen profession, you will be doing such great work. We ask you to reach out and help others. Tell them how important it is to get a college degree. If each of us just took one person, grabbed them by the hand and brought them to college, what a wonderful world this would be. And three, remember your alma mater, CSU Dominguez Hills. Today, you become alumni. You are our points of pride, you are our ambassadors. Come back and help us reach newer heights. Go out and continue to make us proud, go out and make a difference in the world.

— President Mildred Garcia at CSU Dominguez Hills


You can be anything you want to be in this country… But you have to earn it. The only way you can earn it is through self confidence, pride, dignity and character.

— LA Dodgers executive Tommy Lasorda at Cal State Fullerton


Nothing big happens without failure along the way. You cannot be afraid of failing if you want to succeed. You cannot lose your nerve for the big failure because the nerve you need for the big failure is exactly the same nerve you need for the big success. It’s the exact same nerve.

— Director for the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency Regina E. Dugan at Cal State Fullerton


There is no ‘do over’ button in life. But if we are fortunate, we have opportunities throughout our lives to make a strong new start – to take advantage of new pathways that present themselves

  • Continue to develop the skills that allow you to act confidently
  • Be flexible, stay open to new pathways and take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves
  • Stay engaged with your community and participate fully as citizens
  • Demonstrate courage and leadership, knowing you can overcome challenges
  • Always treat people with respect and appreciate our differences
  • Don’t ever stop reading, questioning and learning

— President Dianne Harrison at CSU Monterey Bay


Take this great education you have and reclaim that right for others because no matter what you have done until now and no matter what you choose to do, know that you have the ability, each and every one of you, to make education affordable to everyone and to write the next chapter in the great California story.

Jeffrey L. Bleich, US ambassador to Australia and
CSU Trustee Emeritus, at San Francisco State


These three things are what I wish someone had told me when I graduated from college:

  • Be happy to have a job.
  • Don’t complain about problems. Do something about them. YOU have to make it happen.
  • Stay focused, learn as much as you can, and make your own decisions.

— SJSU Alumna and president and CEO of Charlotte Russe
Jenny Mingat at San Jose State


To journalist grads in the audience: “Whoever you’re going after, give them hell,” he advised. “And please, do not try to take my job.”

— LA Times columnist Steve Lopez at San Jose State


“I look at our motto—to work or fight, we are ready—and ask myself: ‘what do I want to fight for?’ Today I want to challenge you to do something: explore what ‘fight’ means to you. To all of you sitting in those seats: What do you want to fight for?”

— Cadet and 2011 graduate Sean Connelly at Cal Maritime