Family Accepts Diploma on Behalf of California College Student Killed in Paris Attacks

Nohemi Gonzalez was killed while studying at the Strate School of Design.

— -- A California college student killed in the Paris terror attacks last year was honored Thursday by her university as she was awarded her diploma posthumously and her family accepted it in her honor.

Gonzalez, 23, was recognized Thursday as the Outstanding Graduate from CSU Long Beach’s College of the Arts, said Michael Uhlenkamp, executive director of news and digital media at CSU Long Beach.

She was the first name called at a ceremony for about 800 students, Uhlenkamp said, and her mother, Beatriz Gonzalez, was awarded the diploma in her honor.

Other family members, including Gonzalez's stepfather Jose Hernandez and brother Juan Duran, were also at the ceremony for support, Uhlenkamp said.

“This year, the tragic and terrible acts of terror that scar our world hit hard and incredibly close to home," said Cyrus Parker-Jeannette, the dean of the College of the Arts.

"Nohemi Gonzalez was a bright light among the very bright students of our design department," Parker-Jeannette said, adding that she had "exceptional dedication," a "lively sense of humor" and "remarkable talent."

Days after the attacks, professor Michael LaForte said Gonzalez was "something of a star in our department. She was a shining star."

"She functioned like a bit of a mentor to younger students," LaForte said. "She was a deep, profound presence in our department and she will be extraordinarily, profoundly missed."

Gonzalez was also recognized earlier this month at the Alumni Banquet, where she was named the CSULB College of the Arts Outstanding Graduate for 2016, Parker-Jeannette said.