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Thousands of O.C. students set to receive college degrees and certificates

Individuals young and old from throughout the county will be honored for their scholastic efforts.

by victor jacobsPublished: May 18, 2011

Graduation season is here, and thousands of students throughout Orange County, everyone from two-year undergraduates to doctorate scholars, will make this life-defining transition.

More than 1,700 certificates and degrees of achievement – comprised of 707 and 998 graduates, respectively, a record number – will be handed out at Irvine Valley College.

In addition, some 50,000 friends and family are expected to attend two days of ceremonies at Cal State Fullerton. An estimated 10,000 students will participate in the event, which is set to take place this weekend.

Cal State Fullerton will also honor a group of 12 educators who make up the inaugural class of the university’s doctorate in education program that specializes in community college development, part of the Educational Leadership Department in CSUF’s College of Education. To meet the statewide need to prepare educators in two-year institutions, the university launched the doctorate program in the fall of 2008.

“These graduates represent the best of what the community colleges in California have in leadership potential,” said Professor Dawn Person, coordinator of the local community college leadership program. “Their hard work in this doctoral program demonstrates a high level of commitment and investment in learning – and in the future of this state’s educational system.”

It’s been a long time coming for Japanese-American students who saw their chance to graduate crumble to the ground during World War II. Margaret Funakoshi Masuoka, who has waited 69 years to be acknowledged for her scholastic efforts so long ago, will be among the 1,800 students receiving a degree or certificate during Santa Ana College’s 95th commencement. In addition, 20 students interned during World War II will receive honorary degrees.

“The high point of every academic year is seeing the joy of achievement on the faces of our graduates,” said Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D., Santa Ana College president. “These honorary degrees are our college’s opportunity to honor our former students who didn’t have the chance to finish what they started so long ago at Santa Ana College. We recognize their sacrifice and look forward to welcoming them to what will always be their college.”

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