California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Freshman Class Receives Warm Welcoming from Administration

Gutierrez mesmerized the crowd with his speech.

This year’s freshman class was greeted by CSU East Bay administration, student government and a notable English professor last Thursday with an hour-long presentation welcoming students to the “CSUEB family.”

The 8th annual Freshman Convocation invited incoming students along with their family members to gather, as speakers emphasized the importance of their upcoming years and to take advantage of the opportunities college is providing them.

Dr. Sally K. Murphy, director of General Education, welcomed the packed Dining Commons as she pointed out that the freshman class will experience their first year at CSUEB with a fairly new administration, making it more important than ever for the school to be unified and steadfast to make this year as successful as possible.

Christopher Prado, President of Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) greeted students and their loved ones by reflecting on his time at CSUEB and the opportunity it has given him as an athlete and current president of CSUEB’s student government.

Prado’s theme for his speech was mainly directed at parents, requesting them to let their children “go and allow them to mature and discover at their own rate,” as college, he said, is a time for personal innovation and growth.

He “challenged” the incoming students to define their time at CSUEB by using every opportunity available to them and enjoying their college years as much as possible before they regret it.

Referencing ASI’s notable line-up of guest speakers such as Ralph Nader and Dr. Cornel West, Prado emphasized ASI’s goal to provide students with valuable experiences, and ended by asking students to aid him to “[take] our university to the next level.”

Interim University President Leroy Morishita thanked attendees for showing interest in their education and that of their children, and welcomed them into the CSUEB family.

Morishita gave a heartwarming speech on a past occurrence where he met the daughter of a former schoolmate from his hometown, noting that they too will make connections at CSUEB that will last them a lifetime.

The featured speaker for the event was Stephen D. Gutierrez, head of the university’s creative writing program for the English Department and recently named Cal State East Bay’s 2010-2011 George and Miriam Phillips Outstanding Professor.

The successful author, playwright and scholar had his most recent book, “Live from Fresno y Los,” which won a 2010 American Book Award sponsored by the Before Columbus Foundation, chosen as this year’s freshman book.

His speech not only distinguished his ingenious writing but also his ability to stimulate students about college and the many wonders they will encounter.

Urging them to turn off their electronic devices, “beat those distractions,” and simply revel in their classes and lectures, Gutierrez used humor and satire to motivate students that “when in doubt, plunge in and remember that life itself is a work in progress.”

Within a couple of minutes it was easy to see why Gutierrez is as successful as he is, with a speech that not only supplied blunt honesty that, noted by Gutierrez, “just made all of your parents nervous,” but also hoped to show students how amazing and liberating college can be when you give it the chance.

“You must be open, you must be ready for an everlasting change in yourself,” he said. “You’ve entered a dangerous cult (college) that is good for you. You are at a place that is meant to transform you at your very core.

“Be here, be here, and maybe your best, strongest self will emerge. Now get out of here.”

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California State University East Bay
Freshman Class Receives Warm Welcoming from Administration