Nohemi Gonzalez’s memories live on at CSULB

A daughter, a first generation college student and a determined industrial design major was lost to a terrorist attack in Paris almost two years ago, but she has not been forgotten.

Nohemi Gonzalez was honored with a plaque in the lower division shop of the design building at Cal State Long Beach for her time as a student there on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old student was studying at the Strate School of Design in France when she became one of the 129 victims of a terrorist attack on Nov. 13, 2015. The senior was a first generation Mexican-American college student who had big dreams to work in industrial design.

Faculty member Michael LaForte directed and managed the project, but it was also put together with student input and leadership provided by Andrew Marosi, an alumnus and classmate of Gonzalez. The project was also facilitated by Andrew Calder, an alumnus who attended Strate with Gonzalez. The plaque incorporates her identifying symbol and a favorite quote of hers, “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

Family, faculty and staff attended the event to celebrate Gonzales’ time on campus.

“It’s been two years since this devastating loss, but in some ways it feels like two weeks ago,” design department chair Martin Herman said. “We are here to celebrate her time working in the design program.”

Gonzalez’s family attended the event and expressed their gratitude toward the school for honoring their daughter.

“This means everything to us, my heart is filled with happiness,” said her mother, Beatriz Gonzalez. “Nohemi put so much effort into this [lower division] shop, this was her second home.”

Memories of Nohemi are incorporated into the department’s history with the plaque hanging in the lower division shop of the design building.  

“It was a beautiful ceremony and I’m happy to see the impact she made at this school,” her  brother, Paul Gonzalez said. “It’s been a while and it still hurts today, but our family is still getting a lot of support from all over the place.”

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