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 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.


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


CANDEL CSU Ed.D. Directors from northern California include (left to right) Dr. Carlos Nevarez, Ed.D. Director Sacramento State; Dr. Viki Montera, Ed.D. Co-Director, SSU Dr. Jose Lopez, Ed. D. Director, CalState East Bay; Dr. Katherine McKenzie, Ed.D. Director, CSU Stanislaus, Dr. Robert Gabriner, Ed.D. Director, San Francisco State.

Faculty, students, and alumni of the Sonoma State and UC Davis joint Capital Area North Doctorate in Educational Leadership (CANDEL) program participated in and presented research at the first annual Northern California Educational Leadership Research Symposium this semester.

The symposium was sponsored by a consortium of five California State University Educational Leadership Doctoral Programs in Northern California: CSU Sacramento, CSU Stanislaus, CSU East Bay, Sonoma State University / UC Davis and San Francisco State University.

closerheadshot.jpg Social entrepreneur Adam Braun will address the Class of 2014 at Sonoma State University's Commencement exercises on May 10 at the campus lakes area. Braun will speak at both the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. ceremonies.

Braun began working at hedge funds at the age of sixteen, hurtling towards a career on Wall Street, until he met a young boy begging on the streets of India and asked him what he wanted most in the world. The answer--"A pencil."

Braun eventually left a dream job at Bain & Company to launch Pencils of Promise, which In four short years, has built close to 200 schools around the world and delivered over 12 million educational hours.

ericwilliams1jpg.jpgjerrymorris.jpegProfessors Eric Williams (left. Criminology and Criminal Justice) and Jerry Morris (right, Mathematics and Statistics) have been named recipients of the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award.

This award honors faculty with a strong commitment to the teacher-scholar model. It recognizes the important connection between faculty professional development and enriched learning environments for students.

Each recipient receives $1,500 to support his ongoing scholarship efforts and are formally recognized at the annual Exposition of Faculty Research event.

Both will become part of the Platform Party during Commencement and carry the SSU banner in the exercises.

Morris and Williams were selected from nominations sought from students, faculty, staff and administrators to acknowledge faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching. Criteria includes quality of instruction, creation of an academic environment that successfully encourages high intellectual aspiration and achievement, effectiveness in mentoring students and promotion of learning outside the classroom.


SSU's Model UN cohort brought back another round of awards from the National Model United Nations simulation held in New York City. This year they served as the Cuban delegation.

Sonoma State University Model United Nations class has received three awards at the recently concluded National Model United Nations simulation held in New York City, says advisor Professor Cynthia Boaz

"We can all be very proud of our SSU student delegation," said Boaz, who heads the UN class for SSU. "These students have worked together since September to create a real-life diplomatic delegation that was officially recognized for their abilities, preparedness and dedication."

SSU students were this year selected to represent Cuba, which brought extra diplomatic challenges given the nature of world geopolitics. The delegation met with the Cuban Permanent Mission to the UN in preparation for their presentations, and spoke with Cuban representatives about policies and current issues.

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