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March 28, 2023

Gavilan College to honor local Rebecchi with honorary degree

Courtesy of Gavilan College:

Gavilan College is proud to present its 99th Annual Commencement Ceremony, at the college’s Gilroy campus on Friday at 3 p.m. This annual ceremony is rich with tradition.

It begins with a traditional procession of the graduating class, led by the college Superintendent/President, the Trustees, and Faculty, all in formal academic regalia. The procession will cross Gavilan College’s iconic bridge, and then proceed to the seating area. The Faculty will line up, standing on either side of the aisle, and applauding the students as they pass through the line on the way to their seats. Student Marshals, wearing blue robes, will help to direct students to their seats. The Superintendent/President, Trustees, and Vice Presidents will take seats on the platform.

The program will start with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by the incoming president of the Associated Student Body, followed by the singing of the National Anthem. Dr. Kathleen Rose will welcome the guests and introduce the platform party, and the president of the Associated Students of Gavilan College will offer an additional welcome.The Commencement Address will be delivered by keynote speaker Ms. Rolanda Pierre-Dixon.

Award presentations will begin with Faculty Scholarships, to be presented by Robb Overson, the Gavilan College Faculty Association President (the names of the students receiving these scholarships are traditionally not announced prior to the ceremony.) Rho Alpha Mu Advisor Jennifer Nari will induct Honors Society graduates into lifetime membership in Alpha Gamma Sigma, the California Community College Honor Society. Board of Trustees President Rachel Perez will then present an honorary degree to Margaret Morales Rebecchi.

See more on Rebecchi below

Finally, the Outstanding Scholar Awards will be presented, one to a fulltime Gavilan College student, and one to a Gavilan College student who is also a graduating senior from TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy.

Finally, the Outstanding Scholar Awards will be presented, one to a fulltime Gavilan College student, and one to a Gavilan College student who is also a graduating senior from TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy.

At this time, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will present the graduating class to the college president and the Board of Trustees as candidates for degrees and certificates. Each candidate’s name will be read aloud by the faculty, and each candidate will cross the stage when their name is read. The names will be read by Part-time Faculty of the Year Nick Fortino, and Andrew DeLuna, who was selected by Karen Sato, Fulltime Faculty of The Year.

Dr. Kathleen A. Rose will then accept the recommendation of the Faculty, and Confer the Degrees and Certificates to the graduates. The graduates will be invited to move the tassels on their mortarboards from the right to the left, signifying this milestone. Dr. Rose will then close the ceremony.

The Facts

  • DATE: May 24, 2019
  • TIME: 3 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Gilroy campus, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd., adjacent to the soccer field (parking Lot “H”)
  • TICKETS: Not required
  • PARKING: Passes required, limited to 3 per graduate
  • OVERFLOW PARKING: Gilroy Presbyterian Church
  • CARPOOLING: Encouraged! Priority parking
  • ACCOMMODATIONS: Shuttle will be provided from parking areas to the event. For additional accommodation requirements contact [email protected] 24 hours prior to the ceremony.

The People

  • Board of Trustees President – Rachel Perez
  • Superintendent / President – Dr. Kathleen A. Rose
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs – Denee Pescarmona
  • President of the Gavilan College Academic Senate – Robb Overson
  • Outgoing president of the Associated Student Body: Nolan Golden
  • Incoming president of the Associated Student Body:Mariam Hernandez Mendoza
  • Student Marshals: Skye Gonzalez, Amber Bell, Andrea Avila Ayala, Daemar Clenzel Pott
  • National Anthem vocalist: Eric Nelson
  • Rho Alpha Mu advisor: Jennifer Nari
  • Fulltime Faculty of the Year: Karen Sato
  • Part-time Faculty of the Year: Nick Fortimo
  • Outstanding Scholars: Luca Gabriel Orth, Surjit Singh Sadhra
  • Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society Lifetime Membership: Brian Franco, Michelle Lujan, Ruby Gonzalez, Elizabeth Williams, Cecilia Naranjo

The Numbers: (these numbers will increase through the week)

  • 1478 – total number of Degrees and Certificates to be awarded
    • 221 Associate in Arts
    • 147 Associate in Arts for Transfer
    • 179 Associate in Science
    • 126 Associate in Science for Transfer
    • 649 Certificates of Achievement
    • 93 Certificates of Proficiency
    • 53 Certificates of Competency
    • 4 Awards of Achievement
  • 884 – Number of students graduating
    • 2 are earning 6 degrees and / or certificates
    • 1 is earning 5 degrees and / or certificates
    • 7 are earning 4 degrees and / or certificates
    • 71 are earning 3 degrees and / or certificates
    • 395 earning 2 degrees and / or certificates
    • 408 with one degree and / or certificate
    • 91 degrees and certificates will be awarded to students of TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA)

About the Keynote Speaker – Rolanda Pierre-Dixon

Rolanda Pierre Dixon was an Assistant District Attorney for Santa Clara County from 1981 through 2011 and is considered by many as the county’s expert on domestic violence. She was also the Human Trafficking liaison for the District Attorney’s office. Ms. Pierre Dixon is a graduate of San Jose State University with a BA degree in Political Science. She received her JD from the University of Santa Clara in 1980. She has handled all types of criminal prosecutions; including drunken driving, assault and battery, child abuse, robbery, juvenile, narcotics and domestic violence. She established the first domestic violence unit in Santa Clara County in 1991 and was the supervisor of the unit until January 2006 when she was promoted to Assistant District Attorney and became the first African American Assistant District Attorney in the history of the office. She supervised the Family Violence Unit, which included domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse and child abduction, the Criminal Issuing Team, Child Dependency and oversaw the Victim Witness Program. She also supervised the Robbery/Assault and Narcotics units. She retired in August of 2011 after 30 years of service as an Assistant District Attorney. Rolanda is also a past Chair of the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council, Santa Clara County Women Lawyers, Santa Clara County Black Lawyers and the State Bar Women Lawyers. She was also a prior chair of the Law School / College Committee of the Council on Access and Fairness of the California State Bar. She was recently a member of the City of San Jose’s Election Commission, a Board of Visitors member for Santa Clara University School of law, and a Board member of the Social Justice Committee SCU Law. In 2013 she was appointed to the Defined Compensation Committee for the County of Santa Clara. She is currently a local Board Member of the Silicon Valley American Leadership Forum (ALF) and President of the board of ALF National.

About the Honorary Degree Recipient – Margaret Morales Rebecchi

The Gavilan College Board of Trustees will be awarding an honorary degree to Margaret Morales Rebecchi. Margaret Morales Rebecchi was born on November 14, 1950 in Gilroy. She is the seventh of eleven children born to Daniel and Esperanza Morales. Her father, who brought his family of six to Gilroy without documentation in the late 1940s worked under the bracero program during WWII as a farm laborer. Nine of Morales’ children including Margaret attended Gavilan. Margaret was instrumental in bringing the first bilingual commencement to the school. Upon graduation the office of Extended Opportunities Programs and Services presented Margaret with a Certificate of Merit for Service to the college. In 1974 she graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a BA in Psychology. In 1981 she earned an MA in Education from the University of San Francisco. She served as a bilingual teacher in the Hollister and Gilroy School Districts for 36 years. Since graduating from Gavilan College she has been involved in many community activities such as: chairing an endowment fund which awarded $200,000 in scholarships for Hispanic students, organized anti-fracking campaigns in San Benito and Monterey Counties and worked to bring clean energy to the Tri-County area. In 1996 Margaret organized the first US Citizens Swearing In Ceremony in San Benito County in which 200 residents became citizens. Margaret has been recognized for her community involvement by numerous organizations: the Cities of Gilroy and Hollister have honored her with proclamations for community service, she has received the Woman of the Year award by both the Mexican American Committee on Education and the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, and has been recognized with resolutions of recognition from various state senators and assembly members and a certification of special recognition from the United States Congress.

Photo caption: Margaret Rebecchi is shown. She will receive an honorary degree Friday.