News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2057
    May 19, 2004      File #
    Contact: Susan Kashack, Director of Communications, (707) 664-2122


Mother and Daughter Earn Degrees at Same Time as Many are Honored at Sonoma State's 43rd Commencement

Like mother, like daughter.

At least when it comes time to pick up their diplomas.

Anne and Lacey Taylor of Petaluma will be walking with the nearly 1,300 graduates at Sonoma State University's 2004 commencement exercises on Saturday as the mother and daughter celebrate the degrees they both finished this year.

Anne earned an advanced nursing degree after working 34 years in the nursing profession. A charge nurse at Petaluma Valley Hospital, she decided it was time to go back to school for professional growth. "I feel so proud of myself," she says. "There were more middle-aged people like me in the classroom than I would have thought."

Her youngest daughter, Lacey hits the job market with a criminal justice administration degree and has been working on job applications to the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney's office.  "I am so proud of my mother," she says. "The best part about it was running into her on campus and talking about our classes."

SSU holds its 43rd annual commencement ceremonies on May 22 in an event expected to draw more than 10,000 people to Commencement Lawn on the Rohnert Park campus. Of the approximately 2,000 SSU students eligible to graduate, about 1,300 are expected to participate. Including SSU faculty and staff, an audience of more than 5,000 is expected at each ceremony.

The ceremonies are scheduled at 10 a.m. for the School of Science and Technology and the School of Social Sciences, and 3 p.m. for the Schools of Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, and Education. For the first time, the ceremonies will be web cast from the University's home page at

International flags will be flown during the ceremonies to honor the students from around the world who came to study at Sonoma State this year. Nations that will be recognized include Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the Ukraine.

The morning ceremony's keynote speaker is Dr. Alyssa Arp, director of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies. That afternoon, keynote speaker Phil Bronstein, editor and executive vice president of the San Francisco Chronicle, addresses the Schools of Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, and Education.

SSU will also honor another Bay Area journalist with an honorary degree. Belva Davis, a highly regarded reporter in the San Francisco Bay area and throughout California, will be awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters.

Student speakers at the commencement include Jamie Aloia who is graduating with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, and Ephraim J. Freed who has earned his bachelor's degree in liberal studies with a minor in political science.

Excellence in Teaching Awards will go to mathematics professor Susan Herring and environmental studies and planning professor Alexandra von Meier. Donors supporting these awards are Wayne Rowlands and the Sarlo Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

Staff Excellence Awards go to Nels Worden, stockroom technician for the chemistry department, and Mary Rogers, administrative coordinator for the music department.

Reservations and tickets are not needed to attend Commencement 2004 and the public is invited to attend. Parking is free in all areas. The campus is located at 1801 E. Cotati Ave. in Rohnert Park.

For further information see the Commencement 2004 Web site at


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Last Modified: 05/27/2004