City College graduation marks centennial

Fresno City College held its 2010 Commencement Exercises on Friday night, celebrating the 1,430 students who earned their associate degrees and the 100 years the school has been operating.

Shelby Artis, recipient of the Dean's Medallion of Excellence Award for the Humanities Division, was among the nearly 575 students who attended the ceremony. Artis, 20, of Fresno will be attending the University of California at Los Angeles in the fall.

Dennis Adkins, chair of the Commencement Committee, said planning for the ceremony began in November. He said the committee worked hard to make the centennial special, by recognizing 100 distinguished faculty, donors, staff and alumni.

Tom Flores, the keynote speaker for the evening, was the 78th person to be given the Centennial Recognition, and was also the Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient. Flores graduated from Fresno City College in 1956, and continued his education at University of the Pacific. In 1960, he was selected as the first quarterback for the then newly formed Oakland Raiders.

At the ceremony, Flores, who was raised in Sanger, told students to persevere through the struggles they will face.

"If you're afraid to fail, you'll never succeed," he said.

Ebony Easter understands the challenge of overcoming the obstacles that precede accomplishment. Easter, 33, dealt with many financial setbacks while attending the college, but she did not allow her circumstances to keep her from continuing her education.

She said maintaining a positive attitude and having her family's motivation gave her the strength to complete her associate's degree. Easter plans to look for a job, and hopes to continue her education at Fresno State.