Born and reared in Gilroy, now a Hollister resident, Gavilan graduate Adrián López takes off for Santa Cruz this fall with the most prestigious scholarship offered by the University of Callifornia, Santa Cruz for transfer students. According to its website, The Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Awards Program was established in 1993 by former chancellor Karl S. Pister to increase opportunities for talented California community college students who want to transfer to UCSC. Awards are $10,000 per year for two years. All nominated candidates must have overcome adverse socioeconomic circumstances, have a demonstrated commitment to assisting and improving the lives of others, and have financial aid eligibility.
Nominated by Gavilan president, Steven Kinsella, Adrián competed with two other Gavilan students selected for their potential to fulfill their goals which align with Chancellor Pister’s vision. According to Adrián, “ I will continue to help first-generation and at-risk students, many of whom do not have a positive role model in their lives.”
Adrián’s campus mentor Dr. Blanca Arteaga writes, “I have no doubt that he will reach any goals he sets for himself because he is a young man who is extremely dedicated, who is not afraid of taking responsibility for his actions, and who is willing to go out of his way for anyone in need.” The responsibility Dr. Arteaga describes includes his exemplary work in the campus Writing Center, leadership in student government, and service as student representative on the Learning Council. He tops this off with other campus volunteer work while maintaining honors status on both the dean’s and president’s lists.
For the 2015-2016 academic year, Adrián served as a student trustee along with seven elected trustees from the major areas of the district. As a trustee myself, I have been proud to have Adrián join us in both formal business decisions and informal activities. He exhibits maturity beyond his years, speaks convincingly on behalf of students’ interests, and always comes prepared to board meetings.
Fellow Gavilan Trustee Tom Breen of Hollister told me that Adrián “is not one to talk just to hear himself. He also knows how to listen–an important and valuable asset. He has been a good board member without any personal agenda, a good man who I believe will always be a credit to Gavilan College.” Judge Breen’s praise echoes that of Trustee Walter Glines of Gilroy who writes, “He hit the ground running. As board president, the only advice I ever gave him was never to be shy, that the board and college community needed and wanted to hear from students on campus. I value his opinions. He asks questions – good questions. Her cares.” Hollister trustee Kent Child adds, "Adrian consistently impressed me with his enthusiasm, commitment to address student concerns, and mature deliberation skills. It was a pleasure to work with Adrian on the Gavilan Board. His receipt of the UCSC Scholarship is a testament to his personal and academic prowess."
At the May 27 graduation ceremony in the Gavilan gymnasium (with standing room only), more than 400 students stood proud to enjoy the applause of family, friends, and peers. Adrián sat next to me on the podium where he often rose to the cheers of his fellow students, many of whom he has coached along their way. He told me that he never stopped urging students to take advantage of the services available to them at no cost, for example the tutoring and writing centers as well as professional academic and career counseling.
At the graduation, San Benito’s own Larry Barr was awarded an honorarydegree to recognize his significant impact on quality of life in our county and abroad. That evening, it was clear the increase in the number of students receiving certificates and degrees will push the campus community to find a space to accommodate the 2017 turn-out. The gymnasium simply can’t hold all the supporters who wish to participate in the ceremony, to cheer on hundreds of students determined to achieve a major milestone in their education plans. Along with Adrián López, 82 others received scholarships from organizations throughout the district including those from San Benito County, for example the Eunice J. Picetti Memorial Scholarship for 12 continuing and transfer students.