Cabrillo College sets record: 1,476 graduates

Vanessa Segura (lower right) of Watsonville is joined by her friends prior to graduating at Cabrillo College. — Tarmo HannulaRegister-Pajaronian

APTOS — Cabrillo College presented its largest graduating class ever in late May. The commencement ceremony to confer degrees and certificates of Cabrillo’s 60th graduating class of 1,476, was a 20 percent increase above last year’s graduating class of 1,196 graduates.

During the event at the Carl Conelly Stadium, the college awarded 1,150 Associate of Art degrees, 588 Associate of Science degrees, 232 certificates of achievement and 246 skills certificates.

Graduates ranged in age from 17 to 75, with an average age of 28. Of the total graduates, 63 percent were female and 37 percent were male. As a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution, 48 percent of Cabrillo’s graduating class was Latinx.

“It felt great,” said graduate John Basor of Watsonville who earned degrees in culinary arts and hospitality management and wine service with an honorable mention in the latter.

Born in the Konavle Valley in Croatia, Basor now owns 4.5 acres of vineyards on Whiting Road in Watsonville and regularly harvests grapes for winemaking with his family.

Basor said he did not walk in the ceremony when he graduated in 1969 with degrees in Spanish and Russian.

“But my children told me I had to do so now I had the opportunity,” he said. “It was really a great program.”

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John Basor (left) of Watsonville waits to cross the stage to receive his diploma in culinary arts cuisine and hospitality management in the company of his son, Ivo. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

A record 120 students graduated with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), more than twice last year’s total of 50. Additionally, 168 students graduated with high honors (3.75-3.99 GPA), 229 with honors (3.5-3.74) and 597 with honorable mentions (3.0-3.49).

Several graduates received scholarships through the UC and CSU systems. Rosie Navarro of Watsonville received UC Santa Cruz’s prestigious Pister Scholarship Award. Prior to transitioning to Cabrillo College, she attended Watsonville/Aptos Adult Education where she obtained her general education development (GED) in 2013.

A mother of four, she is a first-generation college student who is setting an example for her children. Navarro majored in sociology and communication studies at Cabrillo. She received three associate degrees: sociology, communications and liberal arts and sciences.   

Four students also received scholarships from the San Jose State University Alumni Association, Santa Cruz Chapter. Scholarship recipients include: Jasmine Fabie (graphic design), Erin Koch (public health), Ken Ueda-Martinez (international business major) and Alejandro Uribe-Rocha (civil engineering major).

This year Cabrillo conferred its first honorary degree to George Ow, Jr. Thirty years ago Ow started the American Dream Scholarship program at Cabrillo with the aim of helping local high school students attend the community college. He has been awarding $500 to local high school students each year, supporting more than 1,600 students to date.

In honor of the Ow family’s impact on Cabrillo and the thousands of local students they have supported, President Matt Wetstein is conferred Cabrillo’s first honorary degree in liberal arts and social sciences to Ow.

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