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Imperial County

SDSU IV celebrates its largest graduating class


Calexico campus also recognizes outstanding students

CALEXICO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - San Diego State University Imperial Valley (SDSU IV) is proud to announce the largest class in the campus' 60-year history graduated Saturday afternoon.

This year 382 students received their degrees from SDSU IV. That's up from 329 in 2019.

The Class of 2020 graduation caps a year of tremendous growth at the local campus. It included the highest ever enrollment in both the fall and spring semesters, and the first full-time freshman class in nearly a decade.

In a message to the graduates, SDSU IV Dean Gregorio A. Ponce writes:

“Over the past few years, you joined and helped form a unique community of learners and researchers at SDSU Imperial Valley intent on expanding minds and opening doors for everyone. Your example will inspire future generations of students and your presence here inspires us in our journey to be of service to our students and our community.”

SDSU IV Dean Gregorio A. Ponce

SDSU IV was forced to postpone an in-person commencement until December, but it hosted a "Virtual Celebration" for the Class of 2020 Saturday at noon.

Watch SDSU IV's Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremony

Three students in the SDSU Imperial Valley graduating class are being recognized for their special achievements:

Carlos Montaño received the campus’ Academic Excellence award.

Carlos Montano received SDSU IV's Academic Excellence Award

Montaño received his degree in Liberal Studies with an Emphasis in Mathematics. He aspires to teach math at middle school or high school. He plans to study for his teaching credential and master’s degree.

Montano says Professor Bret Kofford and Professor Stacy Bodus further inspired and motivated him to become a teacher. Another highlight of his college career, Montaño said, was the chance to study abroad in Ireland.

“It impacted me greatly because it allowed me to experience a new culture.”

Julie Crothers, who is receiving a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Program, was named SDSU’s top nursing program graduate.

Julie Crothers was named SDSU IV's Top Nursing School Graduate

Crothers has been an RN with Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District for 10 years. She says she got her bachelor’s degree in nursing “because I knew early on that I wanted to help and take care of people.”

But she aspired to something more.

“Until I started the master’s program at SDSU Imperial Valley, I didn’t realize how broad the scope of nursing can be, how large a role a nurse can play in a community, in creating change for the better.”

At PMH, she was recently promoted to supervise nursing care for all adult services, including medical-surgical, ICU and OB/GYN.

Elvira Reyes-Hernandez was named SDSU IV’s Outstanding Graduate for her academic work and service to the campus and community.

Reyes-Hernandez transferred to SDSU Imperial Valley from Imperial Valley College as a psychology major years after leaving her studies to start a family. She returned to immersed herself in new opportunities.

Elvira Reyes-Hernandez was named SDSU IV's Outstanding Graduate

“It was like, wow, this place is a jewel,” Reyes-Hernandez said. “People have no idea what is available here.”

Reyes-Hernandez became a campus leader as president of the campus Psychology Club in 2019. She also served a term as Associated Students Senator. She named Dr. Linda Abarbanell as her most influential faculty member.

Dr. Abarbanell said, “Elvira was not only an excellent student academically, she enhanced the classroom environment and the learning of the other students.”

Reyes-Hernandez plans on entering the Master’s in Social Work program at SDSU Imperial Valley in the fall.

Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she has a long history with the Desert Southwest.

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April Hettinger


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