From stars in business and sports, to actually reaching for the stars, on May 17 and 18 five California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) alumni will grace the 2019 Commencement stage as keynote speakers, welcoming the Class of 2019 to the alumni ranks and offering words of encouragement and inspiration as graduates now go out to master their future.
This year, commencement will return to the Tennis Center at Dignity Health Sports Park—formerly the StubHub Center—after the past two years at the Soccer Stadium. The sports park has changed names, but the tennis center remains the same, with its intimate feel and close-up opportunities to watch the nearly 3,600 graduates cross the stage.
The university has also fine-tuned its commencement format this year from two daylong events to six shorter ceremonies—each with its own keynote speaker—and added a Graduate Ceremony for those being conferred master’s degrees from all five CSUDH colleges.
2019 Commencement Speakers
CSUDH’s eclectic group of commencement speakers are as diverse in their professional careers as are the industries and communities that value their leadership.
Rosemary Diaz (B.S., Physics, 2000), optics engineer for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Keynote address: Friday, May 17, at 9 a.m., for the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences.
Rosemary Diaz is an optics engineer for JPL. For the past decade, she has worked on various projects, including the Space Interferometry Mission, the Terrestrial Planet Finder, research and technology development, and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. Diaz also works on optical test beds, which are experimental optical layouts used to help design and develop new technologies for applications for space exploration. Some of her daily projects include writing software for data acquisition and analysis, running computer simulations of sensors that are used to measure relative positions of optics, and designing mechanical hardware that hold custom optical assemblies.
Chiraz Kelly (B.S., Business Administration, 2005), founder and president of Staffactory. Keynote address: Friday, May 17, 1:30 p.m., for the College of Business Administration and Public Policy.
Chiraz Kelly created Staffactory to provide staffing solutions for businesses. Prior to Staffactory, Kelly was the chief executive officer of City National Security Services, which she established in 2001 while a student at CSUDH. Kelly is an active alumna, having served as president of the CSUDH Alumni Advisory Council. She is currently a member of the university’s Philanthropic Board.
Carmelita Jeter (B.A., Physical Education, 2006), Olympic gold medalist and assistant coach for Track and Field at Missouri State University. Keynote address: Friday, May 17, 6:30 p.m., for the College of Health, Human Services and Nursing. CSUDH will bestow Jeter an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony.
During the 2012 Olympics, Carmelita Jeter anchored the U.S. Olympic 4x100m relay team to take home gold. She is also among a short list of U.S. athletes who have medaled in both the 100m and 200m race at an Olympic Games, earning both the silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m. Prior to her Olympic victories, Jeter earned the title “Fastest Woman Alive” for her personal time of 10.64 seconds in the 100-meter dash at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in 2009. She continued to live up to that title when she won the 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League in 2010, both the 100m and 200m races in 2011, and by winning the 100m finals in the USA Outdoor Championships and the IAAF World Championship in Athletics. U.S.A Track and Field presented Jeter with the 2011 Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award.
Joseph Herrera (B.A., Labor Studies, 1999), vice president of corporate human relations (HR) for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). Keynote address: Saturday, May 18, 9 a.m., for the College of Arts and Humanities; the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; and the College of Health, Human Services and Nursing.
Joseph Herrera started his career as the labor relations manager for AEG, working closely with the management staff to advise on workplace issues with both union and non-union personnel for all AEG entities. In 2006, he was promoted to director of HR for STAPLES Center, and in 2008 was tasked with the staffing and managing of all HR duties for the L.A. LIVE entertainment complex. In 2014, Herrera was promoted to vice president of corporate HR for AEG.
Jan Vogel (M.A., Education, 1974), executive director/CEO of the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB). Keynote address: Saturday, May 18, 1:30 p.m., for the College of Business Administration and Public Policy; the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; and the College of Education.
At the SBWIB, Jan Vogel takes a leading role in the development of job training services for all of the South Bay’s 11 cities. He is a leader in apprenticeship development and has initiated many efforts for establishing programs utilizing innovative approaches for employer engagement and job seeker recruitment for both union and non-union apprenticeship models. Vogel has also served on various boards, including as president of the Hawthorne Education Foundation, the Inglewood Unified School District Advisory Board of Directors, the El Camino College Foundation Advisory Board of Directors, and the California Workforce Association Executive Board.
Ted Ross, CIO for the City of Los Angeles and General Manager of the Information Technology Agency (ITA). Keynote address: Saturday, May 18, 6:30 p.m., for the Graduate Ceremony, which includes graduates from all CSUDH colleges.
Ted Ross’ 450 employees at the ITA deliver IT services to 48,000 employees across 41 Los Angeles city departments, and provide digital services to more than 4 million residents. Appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2015, Ross has more than 21 years of private and public sector technology experience. He has earned various awards along the way, including “CIO of the Year” by Los Angeles Business Journal, and helping Los Angeles earn the recognition of “America’s #1 Digital City” three years in a row by the Center for Digital Government. Ross is also a member of CSUDH’s President’s Advisory Board.