By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant
(This week, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers will take a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we can share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2012. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)
A handful of bright Spartan-blue cloth reception tables scattered the garden plot foyer outside Clark Hall late yesterday afternoon, as graduates and guests enjoyed continental hors d’oeuvres and the company of family friends and colleagues awaiting the Educational Opportunity Program graduation ceremony. Smooth jazz radiated in the background and birds and tree squirrels didn’t seem to mind sharing their space on the lawn for this special event.
The tribute statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos served as the perfect backdrop to the convocation’s center-stage as EOP Director Debra Griffith, President Qayoumi’s Chief of Staff Dorothy Poole, and other EOP staff recognized 2012 graduates. Guest speakers included scholar-activist Harry Edwards, former San José mayor Ron Gonzales and graduating senior Crystal Cooper.
Edwards spoke on the issues around equal opportunity and diversity. He implored, “Whatever your future path might be, keep the faith and continue to struggle.” Gonzales spoke on the components of success and reminded graduates to “live each day to its fullest, as it is truly a gift.”
Awards were presented to outstanding graduates Myphuong Ngo and Kayla Martinez for excellence in community service and academic achievement in the memory of Maria D.L.C. Romo.
The commencement ended with an inspirational and compelling invictus from Master of Ceremonies Ezekiel Staples, who brought effortless vibrance and cheer-rising energy.