Nearly 10,000 Hornets are now ‘Made at Sac State.’ Here’s how they — and others — celebrated.

It wasn’t the graduation they expected, but nearly 10,000 graduates joined the “Made at Sac State” family June 6, as Sacramento State held a Virtual Graduation Celebration for its newest alumni.

Starting at 10 a.m., graduates and their families gathered in person or virtually across the state and the world to view video messages from President Robert S. Nelsen, student speakers and others; hear their names called; and perform the ceremonial moving of the graduation cap tassel, formally marking their entry into the community of college graduates.

The University held the online celebration in lieu of traditional Commencement ceremonies at Golden 1 Center, which have been postponed until May 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the virtual nature of the ceremony didn’t stop graduates, families, and others from honoring their accomplishments — often in style (and with the help of Sac State’s graduation graphics kit). Here’s how they celebrated:


Several alumni welcomed graduates into the “Made at Sac State” family — with a special assist from the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Republic FC.

As the semester wound down, President Nelsen had a special message for a graduating class whose tenacity will forever define them.

Members of the Class of 2020 also wanted to let their fellow grads know that “we are different, and we are going to make a difference.”

One creative Hornet wanted the world to know, “Hey, look ma, I made it.”

Despite classes moving online in March, several students still took advantage of the beautiful Sac State campus for some amazing grad photos.

Others shared how they were celebrating from home with loved ones.

And of course, when the time came, our grads were ready for the moment.


Congratulations to the Class of 2020! We are so proud of you, and we are so proud you are Made at Sac State!

Vince Horiuchi helps kids find confidence through break dancing

For Vince Horiuchi ’10 (Business Administration), the ultimate reward of his work teaching young kids how to break dance is seeing a transformation in their self-confidence.

Video by Phillip Altstatt

Three Sacramento State alums win 2019 Estrella awards

Sacramento State was well represented at the 2019 Estrella awards, which were presented Dec. 10: Three of the four honorees are Hornet alums.

Leslie Valdivia-Rivas ’14 (Public Relations), co-founder of Vive Cosmetics, received the Rising Estrella award; Maritza Davis ’07 (Public Relations), vice president of experiences and social responsibility for the Sacramento Kings, received the Inspiration Estrella Award; and Alice Perez ’99 (Finance and Insurance), a director with AT&T External Affairs, was honored with the Legacy Estrella Award.

The awards are given annually by the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SHCC) to recognize Latinas making an impact in the Sacramento region.

In addition to the alumna honorees, Sacramento State alumna and award-winning mariachi singer Beatriz Figueroa ’19 (Sociology) provided entertainment during a lunch before the award program. Figueroa is a familiar face to the Hornet Family, having served as the national anthem singer at Commencement for the past three years.

Davis, who was introduced by SHCC Board Chair and Sacramento State Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy Phil Garcia, spent a decade redefining community in Sacramento as the co-founder, with her husband and fellow alum Roshuan, of Unseen Heroes, a marketing and events agency responsible for events such as GATHER: Oak Park and the Midtown Farmers Market. Last year, she took a position with the Kings, where her responsibilities include managing programs such as the Junior Kings and more than 350 community events annually.

In her remarks, she encouraged attendees to continue to work on behalf of the city and the city’s youth.

“Sacramento is an amazing city, we are amazing people that all come together,” Davis said. “It really does take a village every single day.”

At AT&T, Perez is the public safety and emergency response lead and a liaison to local governments and nonprofits in 11 counties. She previously worked as president/CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and as vice president and director of U.S. Bank’s national multicultural banking initiatives. She has been recognized widely for her work in the community, and currently serves on the board of the University Foundation at Sacramento State.

Perez was introduced by her daughter Renee Nelson, and took the stage to standing ovation. In her remarks, she highlighted the importance of putting words into actions when it comes to making change in Sacramento.

“It’s important that we lead the change that we want to see, and we don’t just talk about the things that need to occur to make a difference in the community, but that we take a stance and that all of us owns it,” she said.

Valdivia-Rivas was unable to attend the ceremony, and her sister accepted the award on her behalf. The first in her family to graduate from college, Valdivia-Rivas co-founded Vive Cosmetics in 2016 after realizing the lack of Latinx representation in the beauty industry. The company has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue and Latina magazine.