MSJC helps graduates pursue their dreams

May 28, 2016

Commencement with 1,309 graduates was held May 27, 2016

UPDATE May 31, 2016: Check out the photos on Flickr

HEMET — Before the Great Recession, Angela Mange, 38, had been a successful office manager. But a few years ago, everything changed when the mother of five was laid off.

After a yearlong search for a job, Mange enrolled at Mt. San Jacinto College and started hitting the books at the San Jacinto campus.

"I wanted to be the first in my family to earn a college degree," Mange, of Hemet, said.

AngelaMangeMug.jpgMange realized her dream—along with 1,308 other graduates—during MSJC's May 27 commencement at the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater in Hemet. A total of 1,309 graduates from Temecula to the San Gorgonio Pass and points in between turned their tassels. MSJC awarded 1,979 associate degrees and 155 career certificates, as many students earned more than one degree or certificate or a combination. 

Kenneth M. Young, superintendent of the Riverside County Office of Education, was the keynote speaker. MSJC alumna Amber Cuadra of Murrieta sang the National Anthem. The following MSJC students took part in the program: Prudence Irvin-Geurin Detzel of Homeland, Pledge of Allegiance; Diana Medina of Hemet, opening reflection; Jason Botello-Ferguson of Hemet, closing reflection; and Tamara Russell of Lake Elsinore, turning of the tassel.

Mange’s success is just one of many personal stories of hard work and self-sacrifice from the class of 2016.

Matt DeRemerMatt DeRemer, 28, the father of a 17-month-old son, earned straight A's and graduated with honors while attending the Menifee Valley Campus.

Now, the new graduate is planning a bright future.

DeRemer wants to be an engineer, and later a college professor in math and physics.

In September, he will be studying math and physics at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo.

DeRemer received an associate of science degree in mathematics, an associate of arts degree in liberal arts, with an emphasis on social and behavioral science, and an associate of arts degree in liberal arts, with an emphasis on math and science.

Before returning to MSJC in 2012, DeRemer dropped out of college a few times. But he went on to earn a 4.0 grade point average.

"MSJC helped me to realize my potential," DeRemer, of Menifee, said. "Hopefully, my story will inspire others."

Ashley BrownAshley Brown, 24, a mother of two young children, earned nearly straight A's at MSJC.

With her 3.9 grade point average, Brown will receive associate of arts degrees in communication, social and behavioral science, and liberal arts—along with an associate of science degree in administration of justice.

The Menifee resident wants to be a firefighter and emergency medical technician in Riverside County.

"I'm very competitive," Brown said. “Don’t make excuses for yourself... you can do anything!"

Mange reflected back on her time at MSJC. She earned an associate of arts degree in social and behavioral science and an associate of science degree in business administration. She plans to keep up a busy pace after graduation. She will study online for a bachelor’s degree in business administration through Bellevue University's online program. At the same time, she will work fulltime at MSJC helping low-income students under the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) program.

"At MSJC, they've opened the door to education for me," Mange said. "I'm very thankful and humbled by that opportunity."

Dr. Rudy Besikof
Superintendent/President Roger Schultz, left, applauds graduates as Dr. Rudy Besikof, new vice president, instructional services speaks of their achievements at Mt. San Jacinto College commencement of 1,309 graduates Friday, May 27, 2016 in Ramona Bowl Amphitheater, Hemet. (DeeAnn Bradley/MSJC)

graduates in crowd
MSJC saw a record number of guests at its 2016 graduation

Karen Erovick and Staci Tumminieri
Karen Erovick, 67 of Cherry Valley (left) and Staci Tumminieri, 48, of Murrieta stay cool as they wait for Mt. San Jacinto College's commencement on May 27 to begin. The two received diplomas in child development.