Ceremony honors Hispanic graduates

By Carolyn Smith

Arizona Daily Wildcat

On May 13, parents will try to recognize their child amidst a sea of black caps and gowns, but on May 6, the Mexican American/Hispano Graduation Convocation recognized each graduate individually.

About 200 graduating students brought family and friends Saturday to celebrate their success as a result of months of planning by students who were the main coordinators of the event.

"When they see how hard we've worked on this event I hope they'll do the same thing for me when I graduate," said Lourdes Moreno, a Mexican-American studies junior who served as the head of the three-person student committee.

The graduates were presented with a graduation certificate and a commemorative sash. Each student was allowed to read a short statement, where they could thank their parents, professors, and comment on their future plans.

"Regular commencement is so impersonal graduates are not recognized individually and they aren't presented with any memento of the event," said Salomon Baldenegro, assistant dean of Hispano student affairs.

He said Hispano students constitute 11 percent of this year's graduating class, which reflects the Hispano presence in the student body.

This year also marks the first time the event included a keynote speaker, Gloria Molina, who was the first Mexican American woman to be elected to the State Assembly of California and to the City Council of Los Angeles. Molina was also the first Mexican American and the first woman to be on the County Board of Supervisors.

"Ms. Molina is one of my all-time heroes. I think she is the most powerful Hispano politician," Baldenegro said.

The event is dedicated to the Women of La Raza, which means "The People."

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