First three graduates

Sigifredo Cruz is proud to tell people that he was in the top three students of his graduating class. Nevermind that there were only two other graduates. Cruz’s pride emanates from being in the first class to earn degrees from CSU Channel Islands.

“It was a double-whammy for me,” recalled Cruz, now a high school math teacher in Taft. “I felt pride at being in the inaugural class and proud of myself because I was the first college graduate in my family. It was nice to be a part of history for CI and also for my family.”

Fellow graduate Erich Pearson shares his pride.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I know very few other people who can say they were a member of the first graduating class of their school.”

Pearson attended medical school immediately after graduating from CI in 2003. He’s now finishing his residency in internal medicine at Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, with plans of becoming a rheumatologist or hospitalist.

“One of the unique things about my time at CI was that I was able to tailor my educational experience to achieve my unique goal of becoming a physician,” Pearson said. “My advisor worked with me to allow a selection of classes that would not only meet my premedical curriculum requirements, but also provide some diversity to my overall education. Everyone I dealt with was extremely helpful and more than willing to go the extra mile to ensure my success.”

As the University celebrates its 10th anniversary, both graduates say they’re thrilled to share in the milestone and CI’s history.

“It means it’s a success and that it will hopefully continue to grow and thrive and be able to offer many others the great educational experience that I received,” said Pearson.