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Our opinion: A message from Nussbaunm

May 30, 2001

The name Thomas Nussbaum may not ring with familiarity with some in the Imperial Valley, but it is an important name in education in California.

Nussbaum is head of the entire state community college system. It's a critical position in that he has a lot to do with the success of the huge system of which Imperial Valley College is a part.

Nussbaum's name is also important to the Valley because he is home-grown. Born in Brawley, he was raised in El Centro and graduated from Central Union High School. He still thinks of himself as a Spartan.

After high school he left the Valley to pursue his education. He ended up going to law school, passed the bar and then joined the state community college system as an attorney. Nussbaum worked the ranks until 1996, when he was named chancellor of the system. There are few other administrative positions in education in the state that are as powerful. But more important, Nussbaum's success serves to send a message to the youths of the Imperial Valley: With hard work and persistence, success, great success, is reachable for folks from the Valley. He is a role model for that.

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On Saturday, Nussbaum came back to the Imperial Valley, where his mother and brother still live, to give the keynote speech at the IVC graduation. Nussbaum told 255 IVC graduates that everything he has become he owes to his experiences and the values he learned in the Imperial Valley. He told the graduates they are lucky to live in the Valley because they are building strong characters upon which they can base future success.

In essence the message is no matter what career the students might try to reach or whether they choose to stay in the Valley or move elsewhere, the Valley will always be part of them. They can use their experiences, both in and out of the classroom, to reach for their goals.

We were pleased to see Nussbaum take the time to speak at the IVC graduation and to see him say in a local newspaper story that he is always thinking about IVC. We are confident he thinks of IVC when he makes the decisions that shape the future of the community college system.

We wish him luck with his continued efforts with the state's community colleges and to return to talk to more students. He has a message students and all people of the Valley need to hear.

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