La Jolla resident is youngest graduate at Mesa College’s 47th commencement
Gabriel Ruiz, 17, of La Jolla, is the youngest graduate of the San Diego Mesa College class of 2011. Gabriel was among the nearly 350 students who participated in the ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at the Jenny Pavilion at USD.
Gabriel graduated with high honors and received an associate degree in math. He is the son of Abril Ruiz and Mark Speros. Gabriel began classes at Mesa after completing high school by homeschooling himself through Eagles Peak Charter School in Vista. He has been accepted to UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering and will begin studies in computer science this fall.
The largest graduating class in the San Diego Community College District, the Mesa College class of 2011 included 1,142 graduates who received 1,386 academic degrees and certificates.
Nearly 350 graduates ranging in age from 17 to 72 participated in the ceremony at the Jenny Craig Pavilion at USD.
The oldest graduate is 72-year-old John Gary Rinaldo, received an associate degree in the social sciences with honors.
San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance M. Carroll congratulated the graduates on their achievement. “By completing your education goals, you have not only forever changed and transformed your own lives, but the future of your families, and the overall good of your community,” she said. Dr. Carroll also noted that the graduates were making an impact on the nation’s goal of increasing the number of college graduates in order for America to be more competitive in the world.
Filmmaker Raul Celaya, received the 2011 distinguished alumnus award. His feature film, “That Evening Sun” starring Hal Holbrook and Mia Wasikowska, came out in March 2009. Celaya is a resident of Hollywood, but still calls Chula Vista home.
With this commencement, Mesa College has awarded a total of 46,394 certificates and degrees. The Mesa graduating class will receive diplomas from the 170 academic programs offered by the two-year community college. More graduates selected a business degree than any other. The five most popular degrees awarded were: an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Business Studies (84); followed closely by Transfer Studies (71); an AS degree in Business Administration (70) and a Certificate of Achievement in Business (67), and an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Social/Behavioral Sciences, Social Science (55). Thirty-one students are graduating with two or more degrees and 335 students with honors. The class of 2011 includes 10 valedictorians who achieved the rare and perfect grade point average of 4.0.
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