Hurdling obstacles the theme of Grossmont’s 2011 graduation ceremonies

Grossmont College commencement, Spring 2011 (Rick Deharo, Grossmont College Photo Major)

Story and Following Photos by Russ Lindquist

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–Thousands cheered as newly graduated Grossmont Griffins received long-awaited acknowledgement of their achievements.  An estimated 1,500 students received degrees, certificates or in some cases both, at a ceremony June 1 in the Main Quad.

Student speaker Timothy Snowball shared his imperfect educational journey, with a crowd estimated at 4,000–a journey that now brings him to being graduated from Grossmont–with honors–with Associate’s Degrees in Political Science and University Studies.  Snowball indeed had a chance in hell, having weathered Depression and Anxiety Disorder and having dropped out of high school; thereafter, whenever he spoke to friends and co-workers about returning to school, they scoffed at him.

Undeterred, he spent three years at Grossmont, along the way having joined Phi Theta Kappa, an international academic honors society.  He said that his eventual aim is a degree in law.  Between then and now, he said that he plans to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  For this leg of his life’s race, Snowball has won acceptance to UCSD, UCLA and UC Berkeley.  Now, he can take his pick.

At the comment ceremony, of the estimated 1,500 Grossmont graduates, over 100 maintained an overall Grade Point Average of 3.5 or more, but only seven people maintained a perfect G.P.A. of 4.0.

They were

  • Andrew De-Li Chang
  • James R. Cooper
  • Alisha May Fuchs
  • Alexandra Kaul
  • Joshua Levi Pederson
  • Massimo Ralli
  • Ian Ruston

Throughout the day, I roamed the campus with a camera.   Following are some scenes from Commencement 2011:

Grossmont graduates prepare for commencement.

Jesus Montoya and his former English Professor, Linda Thomas visit.

The ever-effervescent ASGC President -elect Cheryl-Ann Phillips (left) and Claudia Llamaz help coordinate the commencement..

Grossmont Grad Jennifer Gross waits for commencement to begin.

Grossmont Symphony Conductor Dr, Randall Tweed (center) stands with the Grossmont Symphony String Quartet before the quartet's performance.

Dr. John Colson and Dr. Sunny Cooke (robed from left) stand with academic ambassadors from Mexico

(from left) Angel Mannion, Grossmont voice major; Steve Baker, dean of Arts, Languages and Communication; and Professor Mary Rider.

Damien Smith (left) stands with Grossmont President Dr. Sunita 'Sunny' Cooke.

Dr. Wendy Stewart, dean of Counseling and Enrollment services

Gloria Reyes, administrative assistant for Employment services, works at the lei and bouquet booth for the Grossmont Foundation.

Tim Flood, VP of Administrative Services strides to commencement.

Associate Dean of Students Affairs Augustin Albarran touches base with Student Activities Director Sara Glasgow.

(from left) Dr. Chris Hill, interim dean of Math, Natural Sciences and Excercise; Dr. John Colson, VP of Student Services; Barbara Blanchard, VP of Academic Affairs

Christopher Enders (far right), former ASGC president and current Student Trustee looks on at his graduating class.


Lindquist is editor-in-chief of the GC Summit