Cal State University Fullerton announced this morning that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez will address Cal State Fullerton’s graduating class during this year’s May 18 commencement ceremonies.
Sanchez began her congressional career in January 1997 and is currently serving her ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She represents the state’s 46th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana, as well as parts of Garden Grove and Orange.
Sanchez is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and the second-ranked Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security. She also is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Economic Committee.
This is Sanchez’s second time as a commencement speaker at Cal State Fullerton. She previously spoke to the graduating class of 1997.
In addition to serving as a commencement speaker, she brought to CSUF the nation’s first female director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as well as Congressman John R. Lewis, a central figure in the civil rights movement, to speak to students. Sanchez worked to provide grant funding for the CSUF Center for the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles (formerly known as the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity) and served on the inaugural steering committee for the university’s annual Addressing the Achievement Gap Summit, now an annual event known as Closing the Latino Achievement Gap Summit.
“Congresswoman Sanchez has been a valued supporter of Cal State Fullerton,” said CSUF President Mildred García. “Through her hard work and dedication, she has improved life not only for residents of Orange County, but for people across the country. She serves as a wonderful role model for our students by demonstrating how education, persistence and vision can propel you to the highest levels of our government.”
Prior to serving in Congress, Sanchez worked in the financial markets, with such firms as Booz Allen Hamilton and Fieldman Rolapp.
She is one of seven children in a working-class family in California and graduated from Katella High School in Anaheim. Her parents were Mexican immigrants who encouraged their children to take their studies seriously. To earn money while she was young, she worked as an ice cream server.
Sanchez earned her bachelor’s degree from Chapman College and her MBA from American University in Washington, DC. Sanchez describes herself as growing up a “shy, quiet girl” who did not speak English. She credits government with much of her success in public life.
Richard K. Davis, chairman, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Bancorp, will be Cal State Fullerton’s May 17 commencement speaker, on the first of two days of graduation ceremonies. The Class of 1983 alumnus will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters.