Skip main navigation
Bookmark and Share
May 15, 2008

Luis Valdez to address record number of graduates at Gavilan College Graduation Ceremony

Luis Valdez to address record number of graduates at Gavilan College Graduation Ceremony.
** Jay Baksa to be recognized with honorary degree
** Cherise Gowan to sing national Anthem


Keynote Speaker, Luis Valdez: Luis Valdez was born in Delano, California to migrant farm worker parents. He graduated from James Lick High School in San Jose and attended San Jose State University on a scholarship. Valdez's first full-length play, The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, debuted at SJSU in 1963. After graduation, Valdez spent the next few months with The San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he was introduced to agitprop theatre. In 1965, Valdez returned to Delano, where he formed El Teatro Campesino, a farm workers' theater troupe, now located in San Juan Bautista. Mr. Valdez is a founding faculty member and director (c. 1994) of the California State University, Monterey Bay, Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department.

Alumni Speaker, Ron Hannon: Hannon has served as Dean of Physical Education & Athletics, at Gavilan College since November of 2001. Prior to coming to Gavilan College, Ron served as the Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Services at San Jose State University. Ron has a master's degree in Sports Management (1995) as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Human Performance (1993) from San Jose State University, where he also competed on the men's basketball team from 1989-92. An alumnus of Gavilan College (1987-89), Ron also competed on the Rams'men's basketball team under Coach Jack Richards.

Honorary Degree Recipient, Jay Baksa: Baksa recently retired as Gilroy City Manager, following 25 years of service as a city administrator. In addition to his City duties, he has been very active in Rotary, Leadership Gilroy and coaching, including the Gilroy High School varsity volleyball and junior varsity basketball teams. Jay was previously City Manager with the City of Cortez, Colorado, and was the longest tenured city manager in Santa Clara County. Jay Baksa was selected as Gilroy's Man of the Year in 2002 for his
history of service to the community.

National Anthem sung by Cherise Gowan, 2007 Garlic Queen and Gavilan College alumnus.


441 degrees and certificates will be awarded to the 2008 graduating class at Gavilan College. These include 215 Associate of Arts degrees, 68 Associate of Science degrees, 120 Certificates of Completion, 10 Awards of Achievement, and 29 Certificates of Achievement. Some graduates are receiving more than one award.

The program will begin with a processional as president Steven M. Kinsella leads the Board of Trustees, Administrators, Faculty and Class of 2008 down Sycamore Lane, across the campus bridge, and into the gymnasium.

Hannah Kempis, Incoming Associated Student Body President, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Cherise Gowan will sing the National Anthem. Dr. Kinsella will welcome family and friends of the graduates, and outgoing Associated Student Body President Diana Alfaro will introduce the Keynote Speaker, Luis Valdez. Following the Keynote, Athletic Director Ron Hannon will provide the Alumni Address.

Instructors Ken Wagman and Ken Miller will present Faculty Scholarships to outstanding students Instructor and Rho Alpha Mu advisor Hope Jukl will welcome eight Rho Alpha Mu graduates into life membership in the state honor society. They are: Nicole Agriesti, Jennifer DeShong, Isabel Manwaring, Frank Munoz-Ruiz, Laura Patrick, Stacy Pua, Claudia Traver, and Angeline Wells-Camacho.

Mark Dover, President of the Gavilan College Board of Trustees, will present an honorary degree to Jay Baksa, recently retired City Manager of Gilroy. Vic Krimsley, Vice President of Instruction, will present the Outstanding Scholar Award. Dr. Kinsella will then confer degrees and certificates, assisted by Faculty-of-the-Year Marlene Dwyer, and Adjunct-Faculty-of-the-Year Peter Howell.

The Teach for Tomorrow club will serve as Student Marshals, leading the graduates in the processional. The marshals will be: Yolanda Villalon, Jazmin Paredes, Rachel Sullivan, and Jaide Kareem. The Associated Student Body will host a reception directly after the ceremony in the Student Center for all of the graduates, staff, and their guests.

Admission to graduation is invitation-only due to limited seating. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided by Carrie King.

WHEN: Friday, May 23, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Gavilan College gymnasium, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd., Gilroy, CA


Last modified: August 17, 2011
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800