Sixth Annual Latino Graduation Honors Students

Whittier College News Release


Whittier College
Office of Public Relations

Phone:  562.907.4912 or 562.907.4277


Sixth Annual Latino Graduation Honors Students 

WHITTIER, CA (MAY 8, 2007) – Maria Contreras-Sweet, former secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the state of California, will deliver the keynote address at the college’s sixth annual Latino Graduation, May 19, 4 p.m., Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 6760 Painter Ave.  

Latino Graduation is an opportunity for Latino students at Whittier College to honor each other, their families, and their unique collegiate experience. Many of the students at the school are first-generation college students and some hail from the surrounding communities of Pico Rivera and Los Angeles. Students will share heartfelt stories about the college, friends made, faculty and their families.  

In addition to student stories and the keynote address by Contreras-Sweet, the afternoon’s events will include the music of Mariachi Sol de Mexico and dance performances by members of the Hispanic Student Association.  

Contreras-Sweet served under Governor Gray Davis and was the first Latina to head the state’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. As secretary of the agency, she oversaw key state departments including the Department of Motor Vehicles, the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation (Caltrans). She managed a budget of $12.4 billion and more than 47,000 employees.  

Contreras-Sweet also founded Promerica Bank in 2006, the first Latino-owned bank in California in more than 30 years. She is currently the chairwoman of the bank’s board.

Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College’s primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service. Whittier College is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Orange County. 

Whittier College Office of Communications
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