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De Anza College News Release

June 19, 2008

Marisa Spatafore

1,700 Students Earn Degrees, Certificates in 2008

CUPERTINO--De Anza College's 41st annual commencement will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, at the college's Outdoor Events Arena. Award-winning author Francisco Jiménez will serve as keynote speaker.

"Dr. Jiménez is one of the nation's most powerful voices for those who have endured and triumphed over adversity," said college President Brian Murphy. "His words will be an inspiration to our students at this pivotal moment in their lives, as they pursue additional higher education or new and better jobs."

De Anza 2008 commencement keynote speaker Francisco JimenezFrancisco Jiménez immigrated with his family to California from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, and as a child worked in the fields of California. Currently the Fay Boyle Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Santa Clara University, he served as director of SCU's Ethnic Studies Program from 2000 to 2005. He earned a B.A. from SCU and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Columbia University under a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.

Jiménez's autobiographical books, "The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child" and "Breaking Through," have been published in several languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Italian. "Reaching Out," the sequel to "Breaking Through," will be published by Houghton Mifflin in August. He has also published two illustrated bilingual children's books, "La Mariposa" and "The Christmas Gift/El regalo de Navidad." His books have won several national literary awards, including the Américas Book Award, the Pura Belpré Honor Book Award, the Tomás Rivera Book Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. He has published and edited several books on Mexican and Mexican American literature, and his stories have been published in more than 100 textbooks and anthologies of literature.

Jiménez has served on a variety of professional boards and commissions, including the California Council for the Humanities, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC), California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Santa Clara University Board of Trustees and the Far West Lab for Educational Research and Development.

More than 1,700 students will graduate from De Anza College with degrees and certificates this year. Two of these are major scholarship winners Juliana Batista and Eliseo Guillen.

De Anza 2008 graduate Juliana BatistaJuliana Batista, who last year earned an A.A. degree in marketing, graduates this spring with an A.A. in liberal arts. This summer, she will earn her third degree from De Anza, in business. She is the winner of the DeHart Memorial Scholarship and has a 3.496 GPA.

Now a Cupertino resident, Batista's family moved to the United States from Brazil when she was 10. She began her higher education at Orange Coast College and transferred to De Anza in fall 2005. Her campus and community service while attending De Anza included serving as Inter Club Council representative for Students for Justice; a member of ¡LEAD! (Latina/o Empowerment at De Anza); an organizer for Bay Area Student Immigrants Rights Coalition; secretary of WISE 37 (Working to Institute a Sustainable Environment on the 37th Parallel), and a volunteer with De Anza's ICCE (Institute for Community and Civic Engagement). She is a member of Latina Coalition in Silicon Valley. Batista is transferring to UC Berkeley with a double major in public policy and ethnic studies.

The annual scholarship is presented in memory of A. Robert DeHart, founding president of De Anza College. It is awarded to a graduate who exemplifies service and participates in campus life relating to his or her personal values and goals.

De Anza 2008 graduate Eliseo GuillenEliseo Guillen, winner of the President's Award, lives in San José and has an overall GPA of 3.302. He grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, with 11 brothers and sisters. At the age of 15, he suffered a disabling injury while working in the fields. He credits a junior high school principal with encouraging him to pursue an education and obtaining special permission for Guillen, then 18, to re-enter 7th grade.

Guillen moved to the United States to live with a brother in 1993, attending adult education classes and earning his high school diploma. He began his higher education at Los Angeles Mission College and came to De Anza in fall 2006. A liberal arts major at De Anza, Guillen is transferring to San José State University with a major in business administration.

The President's Award is presented annually to a graduating student who has overcome significant adversity or obstacles and has shown great perseverance in seeking an education at De Anza.

De Anza College has served the students of Silicon Valley for 40 years. De Anza consistently ranks first or second in transferring students to four-year universities. The college provides an average of 25,000 students each quarter with outstanding general education and vocational courses as well as interdisciplinary studies, community service opportunities, on-the-job-training, internships, collaborative programs with businesses and industries, and online and televised classes. Read more about the college at

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