Lanette Jimerson and Michael Jedlicka, distinguished young aluimna and distinguished alumnus of the year, respectively, were recognized at the 2014 Honors Convocation on May 17. (Photo: Stephanie Secrest)
Michael Jedlicka ’85, Cal State East Bay’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and keynote speaker at the University’s Honors Convocation on May 17, encouraged the 278 scholars presented with academic awards on that day, to engage him. He recited his email address aloud midway through his 22-minute presentation, inviting them to reach out to him personally.
With many of those listeners about to embark on their first job search, Jedlicka will have only himself to blame if his email box gets overwhelmed with resumes and questions from the students.
But Jedlicka, who is vice president for technology and strategy for The Walt Disney Studios, said that he not only won’t mind the influx of hundreds of additional emails, he’ll be thrilled. It is all part of his recommendations to the honor students to “connect, engage, express gratitude, and find your champions.”
“Use the career center, reach out to alumni, faculty and the administration,” Jedlicka said. “We all care about your future.”
The recipient of a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Cal State East Bay, Jedlicka admitted that he “did pretty well here. It was that moment in time when things magically started to happen (for me).” He then provided advice that has led to his own career success.
“Never stop learning,” Jedlicka told the honors students. “Consume knowledge at every opportunity. Do not compete. Rather, collaborate, be ethical, and work with others.”
Jedlicka and Lanette Jimerson ’96 – 2014 Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year – were honored along with the Honors students, for their professional achievements, by the CSUEB community -- and President Leroy M. Morishita.
“Mr. Jedlicka has distinguished himself as an accomplished technological and business leader, culminating in his current position as Vice President for Technology and Strategy for The Walt Disney Studios,” Morishita said. “Walt Disney once said ‘it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’ With his impressive accomplishments, Michael Jedlicka makes it look absolutely possible, which is the ultimate achievement for this recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus award.”
Jimerson, who is strengthening education in the Bay Area by coaching teachers and emerging education leaders, was praised for her work – and for being the first person in her family to receive a four-year college degree – by Ara Serjoie, CSUEB vice president for University Advancement.
“As a first-generation college student, she was active in the Upward Bound program, tutoring in the pre-college support program,” Serjoie said. “Her passion for education led to earning master’s and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley, receiving an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award, while focusing on writing instruction and teacher development. Currently a research advisor at Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute and lecturer at the Graduate School of Education, she continues to demonstrate her passion for education in teaching the future teachers who will impact so many.”