William Molina awarded honorary degree posthumously at Sac State commencement

Molina died after being wounded in a pellet gun shooting


Photo courtesy of Sacramento State - Andrea Price

Images of William Molina were displayed on monitors at the Golden 1 Center on Saturday, May 18 at Sac State’s College of Business Administration commencement ceremony. Both Sac State President Nelsen and graduate Mia Kagianas paid tribute to him during their speeches, citing Molina’s impact on the campus community.

Sacramento State student William Molina was awarded a degree posthumously during Saturday’s commencement for the university’s College of Business Administration.

Molina died on April 12 after being wounded in a pellet gun shooting at an “off campus gathering”, at Lycoming Court. The property houses some members of the university’s Pi Kappa Alpha chapter, of which Molina was a member, and is referred to by members of the university’s Greek community as “The Fratican.”

RELATED: Sac State student killed at ‘off-campus gathering,’ university says

Sac State President Robert Nelsen took the podium as the evening’s first speaker. Near the end of his address, Nelsen moved from a jubilant tone to one more serious and somber.

Screenshot via Facebook
Sac State student William Molina, 21, was killed Friday, April 12, in a pellet gun shooting. He was a business major on track to graduate in May and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha.

“For many of us here today, commencement is a time of pride and joy. For too many others that joy and pride comes with great hurt and loss,” Nelsen said. “Each year at Sac State we lose too many students and alumni. It is a heartbreaking loss each time. Today I will ask you to join me in honoring an outstanding member of the Hornet family, William Alexander Molina.”

Nelsen highlighted Molina’s diligence as a business major with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, his involvement in the campus community, as well as his gregarious nature.

Following his speech, Nelsen asked the dean of Sac State’s College of Business Administration, William Cordeiro, to accept a degree on behalf of Molina’s family.

Cordeiro then handed the floor to graduate speaker and former Associated Students Inc. president Mia Kagianas.

Kagianas donned a ribbon of garnet and gold, the colors of Pi Kappa Alpha, which draped around her neck and hung against her stole.

Photo courtesy of Sacramento State – Andrea Price
Mia Kagianas speaks at Sac State’s College of Business Administration commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18. Kagianas, who spoke after university President Robert Nelsen, spoke of William Molina’s impact on the campus community.

Like Nelsen, the first half of Kagianas’ speech centered around the typical commencement fare. The second half focused on Molina, who Kagianas partnered with on multiple class projects.

“Will brought calmness and confidence to every situation,” Kagianas said. “He was mindful and scrappy. Always finding a way to make things work regardless of setbacks or limitations. With the fearless mindset he brought to class every day, Will would have been stepping into the business world as a powerful individual along with his classmates.”

Kagianas said Molina’s impact on those within the College of Business administration and the entirety of the Sac State student body could be felt during their academic careers and will be moving forward.

“His fellow entrepreneurship students, including myself, are stronger because we’ve learned together with Will, and our community is stronger too,” Kagianas said.