Emigdio Vasquez died earlier this month, leaving a lasting legacy. He is remembered by many as the famed Chicano muralist who spent a lifetime depicting gritty working class lives in murals and paintings throughout California.
But to Santa Ana College students, he represents so much more. Vasquez fulfilled the community college dream.
Vasquez graduated from SAC with an Associate of Arts degree and went on to receive his master’s degree from California State University, Fullerton, becoming an internationally renowned muralist. Vasquez was 40 when he earned his master’s.
His speaks for the hopes of thousands of currently enrolled students.
Around the time Vasquez graduated, only four percent of college students were Hispanic, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Most schools did not offer bilingual education to Spanish speaking students.
College life is difficult. Graduating, at times, seems like an unreachable goal, even impossible for part-time students.
Vasquez proved that it is possible.