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Schwarzenegger Signs Calif. School Degrees

May 12, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ California’s college graduates are getting a bonus on their diplomas this year: the autograph of a Hollywood superstar.

Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor, his name appears on every degree awarded by the state’s two largest university systems. That has excited some graduates who are fans of the governor but dismayed others who aren’t fond of his movies or politics.

``It kind of makes the diploma seem like a bit of a joke that an action hero has signed and validated it,″ said Bridget O’Brien, who graduated in December from the University of California, Los Angeles. ``I got a B.A. in geography, but I think my diploma is B.S.″

O’Brien, who opposed the recall election that propelled Schwarzenegger to the governor’s seat, was among the first batch of students to receive diplomas with the actor’s signature. The others will be given out after the more traditional graduation ceremonies this month.

Devin Theobald, who graduates this week from Humboldt State University, said the signature has symbolic value to him because Schwarzenegger rose from roots as an Austrian immigrant to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and California’s governor.

``He is a man living the American dream, giving all hope for success,″ said Theobald, a member of the Republican club on campus.

The ``Terminator″ star’s signature will appear on the diplomas of the 125,000 students who graduate each year from the nine-campus University of California system and the 23-campus California State University system.

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