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Will you marry me? A showstopper commencement address

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Student Speaker Proposes Marriage from the San Diego City College Graduation Stage

(San Diego, CA – May 23, 2011)- Alberto “Beto” Vasquez, San Diego City College Associated Student President, surprised his girlfriend, Ana de la Cruz, with a marriage proposal from the stage of the 2011 San Diego City College Commencement on Friday, May 20 in Balboa Park.

Before some 400 graduates, faculty members, platform dignitaries and 3000-plus family and friends, Beto completed his prepared graduation remarks by thanking his family for their support, and acknowledging his mom, siblings, children, and the beautiful mother of his children. He then asked “Ana, will you marry me”?

The graduation audience erupted into cheers and applause as Beto ran from the stage into the audience to reach his girlfriend Ana. He quickly returned to the stage and breathlessly shared her response with the audience, “She said yes”.

Beto and Ana, both 33, have known each other for 17 years and share two children together, Junior 13, and Samuel 10 months. Beto said he chose the graduation ceremony for his proposal because, “I wanted to show how much I love her in front of many and to put her on the spot”.

Beto explained that he had been planning his proposal ever since he was elected President of the Associated Student body a year ago. He said, “I volunteer at graduation every year so I knew it was the perfect way to celebrate the end of the year; not only was I graduating - but so were we”.

The public proposal was a complete surprise to Ana, although Beto had shared his proposal plans with few family members and friends.

When asked how nervous he was while giving his prepared remarks and then moving on to his marriage proposal, he responded, “On a scale of 1 to 10, probably about an 8, however, I was more overwhelmed with emotion than nervous.” He continued, “Being up on stage and thinking of my present position in life and watching my family be so proud and sharing the wonderful engagement moment with my City College family, was truly heartfelt. It was the best way to end my 3 years at City College.”

No wedding date has been set but Beto hopes, “it will be within the next year”.

San Diego City College awarded more than 1,300 associate degrees and certificates to the 2011 graduation class, the largest graduating class to date.

The most popular disciplines were the Liberal Arts & Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Nursing, and Child Development.  Nearly a third of the 2011 class graduated with Honors (3.50-3.74 GPA), High Honors (3.75-3.99) or Highest Honors (4.0 GPA). Fifty-plus students graduated graduate with two or more degrees.
The graduates ranged in age from 18 to 68. The oldest graduate was Walter Newby, turning 69 in June. Mr. Newby started City College while in a homeless shelter and will be graduating with a Certificate in Behavioral Sciences. He is confidently planning, “to be the best alcohol and drug counselor that I can be”.  The youngest graduate was Carolina M. Vargas, age 18.  An Honors Student, Vargas started at City College at 16 and she graduated with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences in Language Arts & Humanities. She plans to transfer to UC Santa Barbara in the fall to earn her bachelor’s degree in English, then on to law school to study International Law.


            City College graduates are from a number of different states, including Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington; and different countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, and South Africa.
Graduates have been accepted to a variety of four-year universities, including UC Berkeley, UCSD, and UCLA.
Photo: City College Associated Student President, Alberto “Beto” Vasquez proposing marriage to his girlfriend, Ana de la Cruz, during the 2011 San Diego City College Commencement in Balboa Park on Friday, May 20.
Photo Credit: Greg Lambert
Additional Graduation photos posted at

About San Diego City College:  Founded in 1914, San Diego City College serves as the educational cornerstone of downtown San Diego.   City College has been named a President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll member, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement, City College offers more than 200 degrees and certificates, and 1,500 day, evening, weekend  and online courses.

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