IVC celebrates 53rd commencement, breaks last year's record
FROM LEFT: Biology major Mario Lopez and administration of justice major Rocio Lopez march toward their seats Saturday during the Class of 2015 commencement exercises at Imperial Valley College. JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO
Graduating students applaud after receiving their diplomas and the ceremonial moving of their caps' tassels during the class of 2015 commencement exercises Saturday at Imperial Valley College. The 2015 candidates for graduation program lists exactly 500 graduates with degrees in Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees. JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2015 1:10 am
By MICHAEL DUKES Staff Writer | 0 comments
IMPERIAL — Shattering last year's total cap-and-gown count of just over 800, Imperial Valley College's 53rd annual commencement ceremony consisted of some 13,322 deserving scholars, 500 of which received their associate's degrees at DePaoli Sports Complex here Saturday morning.
"We work with the other school districts and also the P-16 Council of Imperial County in increasing the college-going rate of our community . This is part of our results of that," said school Superintendent and President Victor Jaime. "Over the course of the last seven years, we've begun to see the trend changing and more and more local students are completing higher education than ever before."
The occasion saw such a massive turnout that many friends and family members were rerouted from the gym doors to Building 400, where they witnessed the graduation via livestream. Those fortunate enough to have found a seat while there was still space sat nearly elbow-to-elbow, but even a slight discomfort was not enough to mar the day, which served as a crucial step along their sons', daughters', brothers' or sisters' paths to becoming full-fledged university graduates .
"You're more than ready for the next steps you take in life," outgoing Associated Student GovernmentPresident Priscilla Ortiz encouraged her fellow former Arabs. "The opportunities are there, you just have to find them. Always picture yourself being exceptional, and remember where you started."
Ortiz, a political science major, will be attending the Calexico campus of San Diego State University in the fall, where she will slightly modify her studies to suit a bachelor's in public administration. If one day it becomes feasible, Ortiz will consider attending law school.
"My grandfather was the one who really influenced me to follow politics," she explained, "but it's always been an interest I've had. I used to be involved with student government when I was little."
Regardless of what may lie ahead, the ceremony was really about commemorating what the students have accomplished thus far. Some — two, in particular — accomplished more than academic excellence in their time at IVC, unwittingly setting themselves apart by merit of their moral principles.
"I was completely surprised to receive it, but I'm very thankful," said Alexis Soto, another political science major, who received the prestigious American Legion Award alongside classmate Nirvana Navarro.
Psychology major Clarissa Chipress was the youngest graduate to walk across the stage Saturday at 19 years old. The Calexico native was one of about 40 students enrolled in the Imperial Valley University Partnership, an IVROP-sponsored program, in which accelerated coursework structure ensures a bachelor's degree within four years.
"I would recommend it to everyone who wants to take it," she said of the 3-year-old course. "There are people who take longer here, maybe up to 5 years, but this program is the best."
Imperial Valley College class of 2015 numbers:
- Oldest graduate age: 62 years
- Youngest graduate age: 19 years
- Average graduate age: 25 years
- 63 percent women, 37 percent men
- 131 students graduating with honors
Source: Imperial Valley College