On May 24, 2014, John Vasconcellos passed away at the age of 82. This is probably not a name you know. However, thousands of college students (past, present and in the future) in the state of California have and will benefit from his work. John Vasconcello was a retired politician from California. He represented the Silicon Valley for 30 years in the California State Assembly and eight years in the California State Senate.
During John Vasconcellos time in the California State Assembly and Senate, he was instrumental in many educational reforms. The legislation that I feel was the most important was the creation of the Cal Grant Program. The Cal Grant program has helped many students, most of which come from lower-income families, attend college. Without the help of the Cal Grant, many students would not have been able to go to college!
Representative Barbara Lee honored Vasconcello in 2005 by saying, “His commitment to education is demonstrated not only by his creation of the Cal Grant Program 25 years ago, which now serves over 60,000 students each year, but also by his advocacy of the personal and academic development of all children, as evidenced by his creation of the California Task Force to Promote Self Esteem and Personal Social Responsibility.”
Today I honor John Vaconcellos for his work. Not only did he help thousands of students, he helped me. I was one of those students that received the Cal Grant for my undergraduate education. Without the help of the Cal Grant, I may not have been able to attend and graduate college. In addition, without my own college experience, I would have never found my love for helping others achieve their educational goals. Thank you John Vaconcellos for your dedication to higher education and education in general.
Rest in peace John Vaconcellos.
Above photo credit: "John Vasconcellos" by Joi Ito using cc by 2.0 - Text added to original.