Nearly 1,600 SRJC students receive diplomas

More than 2,000 associate degrees were awarded to 1,576 Santa Rosa Junior College graduates during the school’s 98th annual commencement Saturday morning, which drew more than 3,000 cheering family members and friends.

That’s more degrees than students because some, like Diana Lopez Rosillo, received multiple degrees.

Lopez graduated with high honors Saturday, earning degrees in business administration, social behavioral sciences and Spanish. Her family erupted proudly when her name was read by Ricardo Navarrette, emeritus vice president of student services. They said that she hardly had time to attend family events and parties because she was always studying.

“We would always save her a plate,” said Lopez’s cousin Rene Velarde of Santa Rosa.

About one third of the students who completed their graduation requirements during the 2016-2017 school year attended the ceremony, according to Ellen Maremont Silver, an SRJC spokeswoman.

During his opening remarks, SRJC President Frank Chong celebrated the school’s growing diversity and continued prestige, calling the 99-year-old institution a “truly international college.” He noted that graduates came from said such countries as Africa, Brazil, the Bahamas, Sweden, Japan, China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Tunisia and South Africa.

The average age of this year’s graduates was 27, with about a quarter over the age of 28. The youngest graduate is 17 and the oldest 74. Sixty-eight percent of the graduates are female.

Chong said he was confident the college had…

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