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Dominican University of California celebrated its spring 2024 undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremony on May 11. More than 300 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students were conferred diplomas during ceremonies at Forest Meadows Field.

Hooriya Shaghasi was named the Outstanding Student. Carmen Hurtado was voted the recipient of the Veritas Cup, which is given annually to a graduating senior deemed “a friend of the class.” Cherie Frink-Hunter delivered the student address. Fieke Schram and Sabrina Solis received graduate student awards.

Amy Young, assistant professor of physical sciences, was announced as the Teacher of the Year.  Matthew Davis, adjunct professor of psychology, was named Adjunct Teacher of the Year.

Rebecca Solnit, a writer, cultural critic, and activist, delivered the commencement address. A product of the California public education system, and born and raised in the Bay Area, Solnit has published more than 20 bestselling books. She is also a regular contributor to The Guardian and has been published in Harper's Magazine.

Solnit told the audience that she was there with hope.

“My case for hope has three main theses: the first is that we are determining the future by what we do or fail to do in the present--that is, the future does not exist except as something we are creating now.

The second is that ordinary people--all of us here--have extraordinary power when we come together, and that coming together can assuage loneliness and despair as well as build the power to actually change the world.

The third is that, while we cannot see the future, we can understand a lot from the past, including that change unfolds in unpredictable ways, that these things university education supports--research, ideas, values, stories, historical memory--matter for reshaping the world, and that when we try sometimes we win.”

Solnit’s books and essays on feminism and women's rights, western and urban history, popular power, social change, wandering and walking, and the climate crisis are numerous and award-winning. Her books include "Hope in the Dark," "Orwell's Roses," "Recollections of My Nonexistence," and "Men Explain Things to Me." An essay Solnit published in 2008 inspired the widely used term "mansplaining." Currently, Solnit serves on the board of the climate group Oil Change International, and she recently launched the climate project Not Too Late. 
 

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