Bulldog brothers graduate in an experience unlike any other


Travis Hansen/The Collegian

Skip (far left), Tyler (middle left), Travis (middle right) and Lisa (far right) Hansen celebrated the commencement of two brothers, Tyler and Travis, who graduated from Fresno State on May 19.

By Travis Hansen, Reporter

At 5 a.m., my brother Tyler and I woke up early to stand in line at the Dog House Grill, waiting until the doors opened at 6 am for the graduation pregame. We hurried through the doors, aiming to be the first ones to grab a drink.

After finding a high-top table and securing a spot for our friends to gather, we quickly finished our drinks. We realized we had made a huge mistake as we found ourselves back in line, now behind a wave of graduating students, with only three bartenders to serve the eager graduates.

Downing our drinks rapidly, we then made our way to the Save Mart Center to join our family and witness my brother’s commencement ceremony for the Craig School of Business.

After waiting in a long line to enter the arena, we settled into a suite we had reserved to accommodate our elderly grandparents, preparing for the long haul since my brother’s graduation was at 7 a.m. and mine would be at noon.

The opening ceremony commenced with the national anthem. It was impressive to see how efficiently the seating was organized for students and how smoothly it guided them to the stage to receive their diplomas.

The efficiency of Fresno State was refreshing, given the large number of students they had to manage.

The most entertaining part of the ceremony was hearing the families around us compete to be the loudest when their graduates’ names were called. Naturally, my own family joined in the friendly competition.

After the ceremony, our family gathered around my brother to congratulate him and settle in for the intermission. My family asked Tyler how he felt after graduating college and all he had to say was “Finally.”

We watched several different ceremonies, listened to the diverse successes of Fresno State students, and occasionally chuckled as the announcers struggled with pronouncing difficult names.

Eventually, it was my turn to don the graduation cap and gown and head down to the lower part of the stadium for my own ceremony.

Fellow graduates and I stood under the scorching sun in our black robes as we filled out forms to ensure we received our graduation photos. Restlessly waiting in small groups divided by departments, we reminisced about our memorable moments in school and shared our individual experiences.

Eventually, we were guided to our seats, waving to our families and friends, while trying not to blush or smile excessively.

The ceremony commenced, and I experienced a sense of déjà vu as we listened to the national anthem, a presidential speech, and words of congratulations that I had already heard four times before. After introducing special guests and honors from the college, the commencement roll call began.

It seemed comical that our department was seated in the front row but almost the last to be called from the entire Arts and Humanities college. Eventually, our department was directed to the stage, contemplating how we would walk across and what gestures we would make toward our families.

When my name was called, I ascended to the stage, collected my diploma and waved to my loved ones. I was blushing and smiling with all my might, knowing that my hard work had finally paid off.

At the end of the stage, President Saùl Jimènez-Sandoval stood for a photo with me before I engaged in a few more photo sessions.

As the last few names were called, we impatiently awaited President Jimènez-Sandoval’s signal to flip our tassels. Before he would allow us to flip our tassels he gave the college one last motivational speech with one statement that stood out to me the most.

“Look how great we are right now. Imagine how great we can be!” said Jimènez-Sandoval.

After another agonizing 20 minutes of congratulations and special honors, we finally reached the moment we had been waiting for — flipping our tassels.

An overwhelming feeling of joy filled the room as we stood among our peers, realizing that we had all achieved what we had worked so hard for. Every student in that room was immensely grateful for Fresno State and the supportive peers who had accompanied them on their journey.

The happiness and satisfaction lingered as graduates rejoined their families to celebrate.

By the time I greeted my family, they were overflowing with emotion because they had just witnessed the graduation of two brothers from Fresno State.

After years of financial, emotional, and loving support, my brother and I were finally able to present our families and friends with the ultimate reward — our diplomas.