On June 12, author, educator and historian Gerald Haslam both challenged and entertained graduates in his commencement speech. He challenged them to think of how they defined success, and to give back to their country. He also offered a suggestion for what to do if you find yourself with $120 million, as a buddy of his once did. But noting today’s reality, Haslam congratulated students for their perseverance “during one of the worst economic periods in our nation’s history, and America is better as a result because it needs not only your educated minds, but your resolve and your toughness. Now bring that same determination and energy to finding the right job.”
Haslam was born in Bakersfield in 1937, grew up in Oildale, and attended Bakersfield College before attending San Francisco State College and eventually teaching English at Sonoma State University for 30 years. He has published many books set in California’s Great Central Valley.