SJCC is celebrated as a Hispanic-serving institute

City College programs create opportunities and open doors to student success

Melissa Maria Martinez and Jordan Elliott

City College is a Hispanic-serving institute with a 43 percent Hispanic student population.

“San Jose City College serves the largest corners of poverty in Santa Clara,” former Vice President of Academic Affairs Duncan Graham said. “Most of our students have to work but they are dedicated and our job here is to remove as many barriers as we possibly can.”

For almost 95 years, San Jose City College has educated those who reside in the communities that surround it; producing tomorrow’s future leaders, skilled workers, educators and innovators.

Programs, such as Cultivamous Excellencia or We Cultivate Excellence, and ceremonial events, such as the special La Raza Graduation ceremonies, reflect the students SJCC serves.

At the La Raza Graduation Commencement ceremony in May, SJCC President Byron Breland said that City College is one of the 25 community colleges specifically recognized for “success in serving Latino students.”

“We are at a time in our history when education is so much more important than it has ever been,” Breland said. “Over 20 percent (of new students) are Latino, our highest college-going ethnic group.”

SJCC began hosting La Raza graduation ceremonies during the civil rights movement to allow Spanish-speaking families a change to celebrate the educational achievements of their family in their native language.

As a Hispanic-serving institute, SJCC offers programs such as Cultivamos Excellencia, a undergraduate reserach program that provides students an opportunity to participate in university-level studies in collaboration with students at UC Santa Cruz.

“We all know that a prosperous people are an educated people,” Breland said. “A focus on our studies is going to help our community learn about our culture, our background and our history.”