Southwestern College will be celebrating its largest graduating class in history this Friday, May 25th at the 57th annual Commencement Ceremony. More than 3,300 degrees and certificates are being awarded this year and more than 900 students will walk across the stage at DeVore Stadium.
Among the graduates will be Victor Morrill, an older student enrolled in the college’s Disability Support Services Program. The formerly incarcerated Morrill is graduating with a degree in business administration with a goal to start a non-profit to assist former inmates. Morril was honored in this year with the Student of Distinction Award – the highest award given to Southwestern College students.
Also graduating this year is Cynthia Ochoa, a 49-year-old theatre student who had put her dreams of education and being a part of theatre on hold to provide for her family. Through Southwestern College, Ochoa’s new role in life has found her as a house manager for the Old Globe, where she works on every single production, and as a transfer student to UC San Diego with a full-ride scholarship.
“On Friday we’ll say goodbye to our Jaguars and welcome our next generation of leaders,” said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo.
Southwestern College will award two honorary degrees to Ron Cohn, owner of the Sprouts Eastlake and Chula Vista, and Ruth Goldschmiedova Sax, a Holocaust survivor who lives in Chula Vista.
Cohn is being awarded an honorary degree for his tremendous contributions to civic and social services in the local community, including a partnership with the Southwestern College Jag Kitchen Food Pantry. Because of Cohn, Sprouts donates more than 100 pounds of food each week to the Jag Kitchen, including produce, dairy and bread. The Cohn/Sprouts partnership provides Southwestern College students access to nutritional foods necessary to fight hunger insecurity.
Sax has dedicated the later years of her life to educating young people and the community about the horrors of the Holocaust. The 91-year-old Holocaust survivor recently presented to more than 300 students, faculty and employees at Southwestern College about the horrors she faced for four years in a Nazi death camp when she was 17 years old. Sax is currently working on a film about her life while she continues to make presentations in the community and contribute to local support groups.
The honorary degrees are especially meaningful to Cohn and Sax, they said, because neither had ever earned a college degree.
Southwestern College will livestream the ceremony at www.swccd.edu/commencement.