FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fowler native, Dr. Hank Gutierrez, is celebrating earning his doctorate degree and is a graduate dean's medalist for the Kremen School of Education at Fresno State.
His accomplishments will be honored in Saturday's 46th Chicano Latino Commencement Celebration.
"This commencement is not only for us as graduates, it's for our community, for our culture, for the people who supported us throughout the years," he says.
Dr. Gutierrez has experienced this ceremony before, when earning his bachelor's and masters degrees as a Bulldog.
This year, the event will be virtual, but he says that shouldn't take away from the pride and joy every student and family member will feel.
He also hopes his story will inspire younger generations.
"I am proud to show Latino kids that we can achieve at the highest level, we can get a 4.0 in a graduate program, and we can walk away with a doctorate in any field that we choose."
Thousands of students have been a part of the commencement since the 70s.
Dr. Victor Torres coordinates the ceremony and says it holds special meaning, especially for first-generation students.
"The source of their inspiration, resilience, and persistency is their parents. They want to succeed because their parents gave them so much that's one of the core things about this celebration," says Torres.
Both Dr. Gutierrez and Dr. Torres hope younger Hispanic generations continue feeling inspired by their parents and colleagues.
"So I am going to take this degree and use it to the fullest and be a role model to all the Latino kids coming up behind me."