More than 200 graduates will participate in the school's 43rd Commencement Ceremony
|Judge Cruz Reynoso|
Cruz Reynoso, one of California’s preeminent civil rights lawyers and a former Associate Justice on the state’s Supreme Court, will be the featured speaker at the 43rd Commencement Ceremony for Cañada College.
The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 25 at 10 a.m. in the upper quad. The campus is located at 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., in Redwood City. More than 200 graduates are expected to participate.
Elizabeth Elaina Mattingly is this year's valedictorian. She is one of three students in this class to earn a perfect 4.00 GPA. She is graduating with degrees in economics and business administration and will be transferring to a four-year school in the fall.
San Francisco's Doris Vargas will receive this year's President's Student Leadership Award. Vargas is a former member of the Lady Colts soccer team and has been active in Phi Theta Kappa, Cañada's award-winning honors club. She will be transferring to San Francisco State University in the fall.
This year's student speaker is Vimolruedee "Jojo" Kolby of Redwood City. Kolby emigrated from Thailand six years ago and enrolled at Cañada to learn English. She will be transferring to San Jose State University in the fall where she will major in business with a concentration in accounting.
The school will also honor four retiring faculty members: Chuck Iverson, professor of mathematics and computer science; Jacqueline Phillips, professor of ESL; Ronald Trugman, professor of business; and Nancy Wolford, professor of interior design.
Judge Reynoso was invited to speak at this year's commencement ceremony by Dr. Lawrence Buckley, the newly appointed president at Cañada. "We are honored to have Judge Cruz Reynoso as our commencement speaker," he said. "He is a man who has travelled a truly inspiring path, and whose personal values include a dedication to education and a commitment to serving others."
Judge Reynoso grew up in rural California in the 1930s and 1940s. The son of farm workers and one of 11 children, his personal story reflects the experience of many Mexican-American families from that era and it heavily influenced his professional decisions.After exemplary academic success as a college and law school student in both the United States and Mexico, and three years of service in the Counterintelligence Corps of the United States Army, Judge Reynoso became the first Latino lawyer for the California Rural Legal Association (CRLA), a group of attorneys fighting labor abuses in California’s Central Valley. In 1969, he began his service as the organization’s director. During his leadership, Judge Reynoso lifted the CRLA to national prominence. Today, the CRLA provides free legal assistance to approximately 40,000 low-income, rural Californians.
Judge Reynoso was appointed an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeals in 1976, and was elevated to the position of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California in 1981.
Judge Reynoso served on the US Congressional Select Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Policy, and in 1993, he was appointed by the United States Senate to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights where he continued to fight for the underrepresented.He was a delegate to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, served on President Obama’s Transition Team in 2008 as an advisor on human rights, and in 2000 was awarded America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President, Bill Clinton.
Today, Judge Reynoso continues his advocacy for improving California’s communities by taking-up the cause of promoting increased access to higher education for the state’s young people. As an alum of a California Community College, he is an enthusiastic supporter of the mission and goals of the colleges, saying, “…at community colleges, there is always hope.”