ashleykimball.jpegkathleenburns.jpegAshley Kimball (right) and Kathleen Burns (left) will have two very specific things in common this Saturday; they will graduate from Sonoma State University and will be student Commencement speakers.

Facing a busy time with finals and preparations for graduation, the two still found the time to pass on valuable information to future and current students about some of the things they discovered during the college experience.

For more on this story by Nick Walden from the Press Democrat TOWNS section, visit: http://rohnertpark.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2014/05/news/lessons-learned-sonoma-state/

Sonoma State University has earned the 25th spot in a ranking of the 25 Most Beautiful Colleges in California by CollegesinCaliforna.net.

The ranking was compiled based on student recommendations, the beautiful colleges lists of several national publications, including Travel & Leisure, Forbes, The Daily Beast, and Business Insider, as well as the editorial judgment of the web site's staff, says Jeremy Alder, Senior Editor, Colleges In California.

Spot #1 was claimed by Stanford University, followed by Pepperdine, University of San Diego, Scripps College and UC Santa Cruz.

The compete list can be found at http://www.collegesincalifornia.net/rankings/beautiful-colleges-in-california/.

sociologyresearchers.jpgKristal Raheem, senior in Sociology, won first place at the recent CSU Student Research Competition in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Undergraduate category. The award was given for the presentation of her senior project: The Experience: An Analysis of the Retention and Graduation Rate of Black Students at Sonoma State University.

Working with her Sociology program mentor, Assistant Professor Sheila Katz, Raheem assessed the retention and graduation rates of Black students and conducted interviews with a group of black alumni and current students. Raheem is also a McNair NoGAP scholar.

She competed against other outstanding undergraduate students from the other 22 campuses of the CSU at the 28th annual event at CSU East Bay, May 2-3.

steveestes.pngSteve Estes, professor of history, has been awarded a German Teaching Fellowship for the summer of 2014 by the Organization of American Historians. He will be teaching a course on the American Civil Rights Movement at the Universität Tübingen in June and July. The fellowship is funded by the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation. While in Germany, Estes will also be lecturing at the University of Frankfurt and the University of Erfurt.

gradgirl.pngSonoma State University will award diplomas to the Class of 2014 at its annual commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10. Approximately 2,000 are expected to walk for their diplomas with their families and friends watching.

The event historically draws more than 10,000 people to the Commencement Lawn on the Rohnert Park campus. The event will be held rain or shine.

Ceremonies are scheduled at 9 a.m. for the School of Science and Technology and the School of Social Sciences and 3 p.m. for the School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business and Economics, and the School of Education.

During and after, the ceremony can be viewed by visiting SSU's streaming media web site at http://streaming.sonoma.edu/ for those who wish to watch it from off-campus or after the ceremonies.

Those on campus Saturday can view it on the third floor of the Student Center in the main ballroom.

garyheck.jpg Wine industry icon Gary Heck, who is recognized not only for his business success but also for his leadership and integrity, will receive Sonoma State's 2014 honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the University's May 10 commencement at the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Heck, owner of Korbel Champagne Cellars, has served as its president since 1982. Working his way up through the ranks, he became Chairman of the Board in 1984, continuing the legacy of his father.

Heck has built Korbel into the leading premium California champagne producer in this country. In a separate facility, Korbel also produces one of the country's most respected brandies. His dedication to quality, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, is at the heart of his distinguished award-winning portfolio.

Members of the University community and general public are invited to take part in or support the Class of 2014 graduates by attending any or all of the four cultural graduation celebrations planned the day before Commencement on Saturday, May 10.

For the first time, a group reception for all of the ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 9 at 8 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. This event includes all the graduates from the four ceremonies, family and friends, and faculty and staff who wish to attend.

The group reception will highlight various performance groups that have representation from all the different ethnicities at SSU. Food created by Chef Eric Lee will feature the cultural backgrounds of the students and families that attend the graduation.

The HUB and the coordinators created this new approach for interested guests to have the chance to attend an event without having to rush between all the ceremonies.

Questions may be directed to Kelly Hodgins, Programming Assistant - The HUB.

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Zarin Mehta, Green Music Center co-executive director, and Sanford Weill, Green Music Center Board of Advisor's chairman, and former Citigroup chairman and CEO, appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box to discuss how Weill's $12 million donation to Sonoma State University will help the school finish its music center and develop one of the best music programs in the country and attract some of the best students in the world.

See full story and video aired on April 30, 2014 at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101629671

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