California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis shared her personal story and congratulated the Class of 2019 at Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Kounalakis, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, is the daughter of a refugee from Greece. Her father came to Lodi as teenager and worked on a farm, later earning his degree from Sacramento State.
“My father’s ability to go to college changed the trajectory of his life, and by extension, mine,” she said at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 18. “Because the story of America, the story of California, has always been a story of each generation having the opportunity to surpass the achievements of our parents. And your story is just beginning.
“From here, you will go out into the world and pursue careers, chase your dreams, become innovators, artists and leaders. As Cal Poly Pomona graduates, you are standing at the threshold of great opportunity.”
Kounalakis, who took office in January 2019 as California’s first woman elected lieutenant Governor, also encouraged graduates to actively participate in government and their community and not take their success for granted.
“However you choose how to participate in public service, I hope that you remember that doing well and doing good go hand in hand in our country. Our democracy relies on a society that elevates the importance of the public good beyond our own personal, short term interests,” she said.
Kounalakis’ full commencement address is available on PDF.