FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --It's one of the largest classes to graduate at Fresno State -- 5,475 Fresno State students sit together in achievement -- but in the crowd some stand out among the rest.
Liliana Toste is this year's undergraduate university medal recipient. Her story begins in hardship and continues to triumph as she won the university's highest honor.
"My grandparents came straight here from the Azores Islands. And started from nothing... And here I am!" said Liliana Toste, University Medal recipient.
Her challenging narrative is a story many in this crowd understand.
"Over 72 percent of them are the first in their families to graduate from college so it's incredible to hear those stories," said Joseph Castro, CSU Fresno President.
This accomplishment isn't limited to the students. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera received an honorary doctorate degree. He is the son of migrant farm workers. "I used to be ashamed without all the resources.... They were pioneers."
Fresno State celebrated diversity on campus with several events dedicated to the different cultures represented at the school. Our very own Dale Yurong had the privilege of emceeing the "Asian American Pacific Islander Commencement Celebration". Dozens of people participated and were treated to a keynote address by Deborah Ikeda -- the president of Clovis Community College.