NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
With graduation ceremonies set to take place on campus this week, the Cal State Northridge Athletics Department gathered to celebrate its graduating student-athletes in an afternoon ceremony at the Matador Spirit Plaza on Monday. Dr. Brandon E. Martin, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Dr. Tina Kiesler, Faculty Athletic Representative, presented each of the department's graduating student-athletes with a commemorative sash and a red rose during the event.
"I think this is what higher education is all about: when a student-athlete has access to higher education. It is not only about their achievements in their respective sports, it's about life success, academic success and reaching your full potential," said Dr. Martin.
Bill Courtland, CSUN class of 1982, served as the event's master of ceremonies and read off the name of each graduate as their family members, friends and coaches in attendance cheered them on. Dr. Martin and Dr. Kiesler also addressed the graduating class, offering words of wisdom and advice for the stages of life to come.
"I certify their eligibility, so from the get-go I am aware of what their academic progress is," said Dr. Kiesler. "It is thrilling to see them develop as intellectuals and as individuals."
For all, reaching the point of graduation signals the end of an era, the beginning of a new chapter and marks a significant point in one's education. Josh Goossen-Brown, a member of the CSUN baseball team, transferred to Northridge as a sophomore and will graduate this week with a degree in Kinesiology.
"It is very satisfying to be able to say that I graduated from college," said Goossen-Brown. "I had a great opportunity here at CSUN and I was able to make a lot of friends here. Being able to compete on the baseball team that is at the top of the Big West has been a lot of fun and I had a really good time here."
Coaches, like Director of Men's Basketball Operations Lior Schwartzberg, have been integral in the success of their players in competition. They take even more pride, however, when the young men and women they coach excell in the classroom and attain their academic goals as well.
"We make academics a priority and we make sure that we monitor and are there to help them," said Schwartzberg. "One of the biggest things is that we show that we care by showing them time. One of our guys, Lonnie [Watson], is graduating after three years and some of our guys will graduate after three and a half. Knowing that our guys are turning things around makes us proud."
Following the introduction of CSUN's student-athletes, Dr. Martin took the stage to offer up a toast to the graduates and the sacrifices of their parents while commending all on the achievements that have been made.
"I think our student-athletes have to be persistent at their goals, focused on their skills and endeavors," added Dr. Martin. "I encourage them to stay connected not only to the athletics department but the CSUN community at large as well."
After the ceremony, the graduates walked to the Matador Statue on campus with their rose in hand to participate in the Tradition of the Rose. Each person laid his or her rose at the feet of the Matador to recognize the accomplishments they have achieved while at CSUN.
"When I first started in this role, many of the people graduating this week were entering their sophomore year," added Dr. Kiesler. "To be able to observe and in some cases assist their development is a real joy. To see the culmination of that this week is delightful."