CHULA VISTASouthwestern College student Gloria Zepeda de Sánchez glowed as she received her associate degree during the College’s 44th Annual Commencement May 27. For Zepeda de Sánchez, and the hundreds of other students receiving their diplomas, their degree represented a great accomplishment. She felt prepared, ready to take the next step in her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.
“I am ready to transfer,” said the 25 year-old mother of three who will be attending San Diego State University in the fall. Her children, husband, and relatives cheered her from the audience. “I always wanted to be a professional. I wanted to set an example for my kids. I am more confident. I know I can do it.”
Zepeda de Sánchez’s “can do” attitude and that of the hundreds of students who receive their degrees from Southwestern College every year has helped the institution to achieve a great accomplishment of its own; it has become the No. 3 community college in the nation and No. 2 in California in the number of associate degrees awarded to Hispanic students.
“This achievement is the result of the dedication from all of our faculty and staff, but especially our wonderful students,” said Norma L. Hernández, Superintendent/President for Southwestern College.
During the graduation ceremony, Hernández thanked the faculty and staff and the graduates’ family and friends for helping the students realize their academic goals.
“Our graduates would agree that your support has been essential for their success,” she said. “But today we are here to celebrate you, our graduates, for your motivation, perseverance, and accomplishments. It was your motivation that began your journey for higher education, and your perseverance that carried you through the challenges that faced you, eventually leading to your accomplishment as a graduate.”
This year Southwestern College awarded 1,285 associate degrees and 183 certificates to students. Of the total degrees, 729 (57%) went to Latinos.