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May 22, 2009


Peggy Cartwright
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

For Immediate Release


Chaffey College held the 2009 commencement ceremony yesterday, marking the college’s 92nd graduating class.   More than 4,000 people were in attendance including more than 550 students of a graduating class of over 2000. 

The 2009 commencement keynote address “Changing Lives” was given by superintendent/president, Dr. Henry Shannon.  He spoke directly to the graduating class saying that “each of your stories is unique, remember to always believe in yourself, and share your talents by serving others.”

Commencement is a celebration of each person’s accomplishments.  Dr. Shannon illustrated this by sharing the stories of five Chaffey College graduates. First, he spoke about David Jacobs, a father of four who earned an associate degree in correctional science.  “David aspires to work with juveniles in correctional facilities,” he said. David will be continue his education at Azusa Pacific University studying counseling,”  

Shannon continued by sharing the story of Anthony Soares a student-athlete.  “Anthony’s mother passed away his senior year in high school.  This young man grew up quickly,” he continued.  “Anthony also overcame adversity being born with a congenital birth defect in his left leg; he doesn’t view this as a disability,” said Shannon.  Anthony competes on both the Chaffey College basketball and track and field teams,” exclaimed Shannon. 

A third student, Oscar Gonzales is the first Chaffey College student to complete his education solely in Chino.  Oscar took 100% of his coursework in the Chino Center and new Chino Campus.  “This semester he earned an associate degree in Theatre and plans to transfer to Los Angeles Film School,” said Shannon. 

A fourth student Dr. Shannon spoke about was Christina Perez.  “Christina and her siblings were raised by her grandmother and never considered college an option.”  Dr. Shannon said that she originally started at Chaffey and soon after dropped out because she found it difficult balancing school and work.  “In 2007 she re-enrolled in the Chaffey College Dental Assisting program and maintained a 3.0 GPA,” he said.  “She aspires to be a dentist and will be attending Loma Linda University Dental School in the fall.”

The last student Dr. Shannon featured was Edna Chavez.  “Edna and her family have moved back and forth between California and Mexico most of her life,” he said.    While attending Chaffey, Edna has worked in the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services office as peer advisor.  Edna was accepted to both UCLA and UC Berkeley and has chosen to attend Berkeley where she will be studying language.    

Three additional commencement speakers included faculty senate president, Ardon Alger and Chaffey College Foundation president, Sue Sundell who through their speeches congratulated the class of 2009 and provided them with words of advice.  Associated Students of Chaffey College president, Jason Wright presented the college with the class gift and introduced the “Faculty of the Year,” Robert Nazar, professor of English and “Staff of the Year,” administrative assistant, Sonia Juarez. 

The Chaffey College class of 2009 earned a total of 2,263 degrees in certificates, the most in the college’s history.  Of this, 1,524 associate degrees were awarded, the most the college has awarded and 739 certificates, the highest number of certificates awarded. 

Among the students who earned a degree or certificate in 2008–09, approximately 31 percent received multiple awards (2 or more degrees or certificates), including one student who earned 6 awards.  The youngest graduate is 17 years old and the oldest is 82 years old.

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