5 notable people from Sacramento State

Stingers up for all the Hornets graduating this weekend. | Photo by SACtoday staff

Stingers up for all the Hornets graduating this weekend. | Photo by SACtoday staff

Graduation season begins today at Golden 1 Center as Sacramento State’s commencement ceremonies kick off this weekend.

Before you adjust your gown and move that tassel to the left — we thought we’d share some of the most notable Hornets to have graced the university’s halls.

🎓 Tom Hanks

One of Sac State’s more notable alumni is also arguably its most famous dropout. The Oscar-winning actor transferred to Sac State after studying theater for two years at Chabot College in Hayward. Tom left after one year to intern full time at the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, however, but his son Colin was born + raised in Sac — and even made a documentary about Tower Records.

🎓 Ryan Coogler

The Oakland-born director of “Black Panther” — who made the whole world say Wakanda forever” — not only majored in finance, he played football for the Hornets as well, racking up 112 receptions (which ranks fourth all-time in Sac State football history) for 1,213 yards + six touchdowns across four seasons.

🎓 Lester Holt

The Cordova High School alum best known for his work on NBC Nightly News + Dateline NBC is another of the university’s famous dropouts. He left during his junior year to work at a San Francisco radio station, but was eventually awarded an honorary degree from the school in 2015 with his father — another Sac State alum — in attendance.

🎓 Bobby McFerrin

The folk + jazz musician who told the world “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” originally planned on being a minister of music before he attended Sac State, after which he joined Ice Folliesan ice-skating show with pop-music bands which would later produce Disney on Ice — as their piano player.

🎓 Maya Angelou

While not technically a student, we would be remiss not to include Ms. Angelou — who was a visiting professor at Sac State in the 1970s — on this list. The world-renowned poet + author not only taught literature, writing, and philosophy to students at Sac State, but made appearances and spoke at Sac City College, UC Davis, and University of the Pacific.

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