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Provost's Message

February 14, 2018

A Message From Provost Jersky

Provost Brian JerskyCommencement 2018 Update

As news has spread about this year’s commencement ceremonies changes, I understand the response and that transition is never easy. The changes for this year are made of necessity, and we have had to prioritize some new critical elements.

Unfortunately, some mistaken details have circulated and has led to some inaccuracies being spread. I offer the correct details. My hope going forward is that we all know the real facts about commencement, and can help clear up other’s misinformation.

This year’s ceremonies will be located in the intramural fields. This decision was largely driven by safety concerns for our students and families. We are a campus that has grown in numbers each year, and we simply cannot accommodate the increasing number of graduates and their families in the quad.

Security has also become a very important concern for all college campuses, ours included. This new venue provides us with not only more space, but the ability to secure the location more effectively. At the end of the day, President Conoley and I have to make decisions to ensure our events are safe.

Also, we want the ceremonies to be more accessible to all in attendance. Over the past few years, we have received numerous complaints from families and students about how far the parking was in relation to the commencement location. We had families missing the beginning of the ceremonies simply based on the parking location being far away from the event. This new venue provides easy access to parking.

We have decided to return the live music provided by our student band.  We reviewed all the responses from faculty and students, and have figured out a way to financially accommodate this request. Thank you for expressing your thoughts, feeling, and concerns. Your collective passion and voice matter to me.

I am confident this year’s commencement will be not only beautiful but have elements of traditions past that students and their families will appreciate. At the heart of this decision are our students and their families. We know this day is one of the most important events in any student’s life. We are treating these ceremonies with all the care, attention to detail and creative elements our students deserve.


Faculty in the News

Dr. Bita Ghafoori was selected to receive a Fullbright Specialist Grant at University of Coimbra Portugal, where she served as a specialist in the field of mental health/traumatic stress. Congratulations, Bita!

In Memoriam

Retired professor Jerry Sullivan, a professor of English, has passed away. He was one of our campus’s most influential faculty members in preparing teachers for their Secondary Education careers. Jerry was also very active across campus, and was known by many.

Dr. “Tab” Talmadge C. Tillman, Jr. passed away October 6, 2017. Dr. Tillman was a College of Business Administration Accountancy professor.

Dr. Jack Howard Munsee passed away December 16, 2017. Dr Munsee was a professor of physics and astronomy for 30 years. He served as Chair of the Academic Senate, President of the California Faculty Association on campus, and Vice-President of the statewide CFA. He was awarded the Nicholas Perkins Hardeman Academic Leadership Award in 1996. 

Dr. Keith Collinsan from the History department has passed away. Dr. Collinsan was known for his kindness, sincerity, and various acts of generosity. He served as a mentor to many students who saw in him as an example.

Publications and Grants

Dessie Underwood, Surface Waters Ambient Monitoring Program. State Water Resources Control Board. CNSM. Biological Sciences. Total Award: $348,585. (November 2017 – March 2020)

Academic Affairs News


The next Provost’s Message will be published on Wednesday, March 14. Items for the upcoming message should be submitted by Friday, March 9, to