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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to Address CSU Dominguez Hills Class of 2009
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Caption BulletCourtesy of U.S. Department of Labor

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to Address CSU Dominguez Hills Class of 2009

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis will give the keynote address at the California State University, Dominguez Hills Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 22. Taking place on the field of the Home Depot Center Soccer Stadium on campus, the ceremony begins at 8 a.m.

“We are truly honored to have Secretary Solis serve as this year’s commencement speaker at our undergraduate ceremony,” said CSU Dominguez Hills President Mildred García. “We are proud that she is a graduate of one of our sister California State University campuses, and with her extraordinary and progressive work in public service, Secretary Solis is a shining example to our graduates of what they can accomplish in life.”

Secretary Solis was confirmed as the nation’s 25th labor secretary on February 24, 2009. She is the first Latina cabinet member of any presidential administration and the first Hispanic labor secretary.

From 2001 to 2009, Secretary Solis served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the overall quality of life for working families. A leader on clean energy jobs, she authored the Green Jobs Act, which provides funding for “green collar” job training for veterans, displaced workers, at-risk youth, and families in underserved communities. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation and secured protections for disenfranchised minority workers. For her trailblazing work on environmental justice, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000.

In 1994, she made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the California State Senate. As the chairwoman of the California Senate Industrial Relations Committee, she led the battle to increase the state’s minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour and authored seventeen state laws aimed at combating domestic violence.

Solis is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, and she earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.

Solis will address approximately 1,400 bachelor’s degree candidates, as well as their families and friends in the stands. The ceremony will be webcast live through a link on the commencement web site, www.csudh.edu/commencement.

A commencement ceremony for master’s degree candidates will take place on Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. at the Home Depot Center Tennis Stadium. At that ceremony, Los Angeles Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt will give the keynote address.

With a student body population that is 39.5 percent Hispanic, 30.3 percent African American, 18.5 percent white, 6.4 percent Asian, 5.1 percent Filipino/Pacific Islander, and 0.3 percent Native American, CSU Dominguez Hills is among the most ethnically diverse campuses in the West. The university also serves a vital role in creating a more educated workforce: many students are first in their families to attend school, and the university educates a number of returning older adult students interested in switching careers.

The university offers 45 bachelor’s degrees and 24 graduate degrees in a wide selection of subject matters relevant to today’s high-demand fields, including nursing, business, technology and education. Increasingly popular programs include child development, biochemistry, and negotiation, conflict resolution and peace building.

- Amy Bentley-Smith


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Last updated Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 3:06 p.m., by Joanie Harmon