With Nelsen’s support, 75-year-old student wins multiple awards

Rodolfo Castillo finished his bachelor’s degree through a long-distance program at Sacramento State later in life, in his 70s, in order to keep teaching preschool.
This achievement has been recognized within the Sacramento State community, the western United States, and now nationally.

President Nelsen asked veterans to stand and be recognized during the 2016 commencement ceremony. (Jessica Vernone/Sacramento State)

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) has named Mr. Castillo the 2017 Outstanding Continuing Education Student.The award will be presented at UPCEA’s national convention in Chicago in March 2017. This honor follows UPCEA’s West Region honoring Mr. Castillo as the 2016 Outstanding Nontraditional Student.

Amazed by his tenacity,  Sacramento State’s President Robert S. Nelsen a submitted personal letter of support for Castillo. See his letter here.

Lester Holt enjoys a proud homecoming

Lester Holt is one of the world’s most respected broadcast journalists – and it all began for him at Sacramento State. He became a better student and made the decision to become a journalist while at the University, he says. “It set me off into the world.”

He still considers himself a student – “and my finals are every night at 6:30 Eastern time when I get in front of the camera.”

Holt, 57, who anchors both NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC, came home to Sacramento this month when he interviewed Sac State graduate students Ahlam Abdul-Rahman and Norma Mendoza as a part of a national discussion on immigration in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration. Sacramento was the first stop on his “Across America” series for Nightly News.

President Robert S. Nelsen with NBC News anchor Lester Holt on the Sac State campus during Holt’s Jan. 17 visit. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)

While in town, he also visited the Sacramento State campus, where he was a government major in the late 1970s. (See our photos from his visit.) His parents worried when he left school to take a chance on a job with a San Francisco radio station. They needn’t have been concerned: Eighteen months later, he was working at the CBS-TV affiliate in New York City and was on his way.

Last year, Holt was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. And in September 2016, he became the first African American moderator of a general-election presidential debate in nearly a quarter-century when candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off for the first time.

Holt’s alma mater has recognized his world-famous achievements – conferring an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on the broadcaster during Spring 2015 Commencement ceremonies at Sleep Train Arena. Holt noted in his remarks that his father, Lester Holt Sr., is a Sac State graduate. (View a video of his Commencement talk.)

Please enjoy this video – and read more about Lester Holt Jr., who is proud to be #MadeAtSacState.


Scholarship sends two students overseas for spring ’17

Two Sacramento State students are headed overseas in spring 2017 thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Lyudmyla Nastasiychuk, a finance major, will study at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England. Sociology major Micaiah Palmer will attend Gothenburg University in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Lyudmyla Nastasiychuk, Sacramento State student

Nastasiychuk said she was excited to have this opportunity and be able to not only study abroad, but to do it with a scholarship.

“Receiving a Gilman scholarship is just another incredible addition to my experience abroad,” Nastasiychuk says. “It is a privilege to know that people believe in me who I have never met and provide me the resources to make my dreams come true.”

Palmer said she is studying abroad not only to improve herself, but also to show others that it is possible and to follow their dreams.Lyudmyla Nastasiychuk,

“Because of the Gilman scholarship I am able to make my goals a reality,” Palmer says. 

Micaiah Palmer, Sacramento State student

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is an undergraduate grant that enables students who are citizens and have limited finances to study abroad, allowing them to become educated on global economy.

The grant is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The grant is also administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Scholarship awardees receive up to $5,000 toward their study abroad tuition. The program looks to diversify students who study and intern abroad in other countries and regions in which they travel. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad are eligible to apply.