Gavilan graduates 350 students tonight


Gavilan College will award nearly 350 degrees, certificates and
other honors when the class of 2003 graduates tonight at 6:30
GILROY – Gavilan College will award nearly 350 degrees, certificates and other honors when the class of 2003 graduates tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Special tribute will be paid to the Outstanding Scholar and to recently retired Trustee Jean Ottmar, who will receive an honorary degree from the Board of Trustees.

Ottmar is known for her dedication to the school’s athletic department, which named the Gavilan gymnasium – where Friday’s ceremony will be held – after her late husband, Bud Ottmar.

The Outstanding Scholar Award is Gavilan’s most prestigious accolade, recognizing a student’s excellence in academics and involvement with the school during their community college career.

In addition to college President Steve Kinsella, who will recognize several standout students during his remarks, special alumnus and keynote speakers will also address the class of 2003.

The keynote speaker will be Diane Cordero de Noriega, provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University, Monterey Bay. Cordero de Noriega’s career in education has spanned decades, from instructor to professor to dean to her current position. She has won many academic honors and is considered a national leader in bilingual education.

“She’s a wonderful person and a brilliant scholar,” Gavilan Vice President John Baker said. “To have a national leader of her stature at our graduation ceremony is a compliment to all of us at the college.”

Cordero de Noriega’s published work has focused on multicultural issues in education, especially bilingual education and issues of language. She has a doctorate from UC Santa Barbara in confluent education with a bilingual, cross-cultural emphasis.

Gene Sakahara will be the alumnus speaker. Sakahara graduated from Gavilan College in 1968 and went on to get a bachelor’s degree from CSU Chico and a master’s degree from San Jose State.

The long-time Gilroyan is the recruitment administrator for Gilroy Unified School District. He has held a variety of administrative positions in education, including serving as principal for Jordan School, Rod Kelley School and San Ysidro School.

In 1998, Sakahara was named Educator of the Year by the Economic Development Corporation in association with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. He is past president of the Gilroy Garlic Festival and has been active in the Special Olympics, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Gilroy Planning Commission.

For more information on the graduation ceremony, go to


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