Looking Back at 40 Years of Service

By: Sarah Winning

In the basement of Meriam Library, Ron Cervantez sits in a small office reminiscing about his time at Chico State.

He came to campus in 1970 to earn his diploma and compete on the wrestling team. He graduated in 1974 with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and personnel management. In 1971, he began working at the University delivering movies to classrooms. Nearly 40 years later, as the instructional support assistant for Creative Media and Technology, Cervantez is the one who manages the technology used at campus events.

But the spring 2015 semester will be his last at Chico State. In May he begins the next chapter of his life—retirement.

Cervantez points to the tall stacks of manila folders around his office.

Ron Cervantez Ron Cervanteinz his office in the basement of Meriam library. Photo by Jihyun Shin.

“I have hired a lot of kids, a lot of students in the past,” said Cervantez. “Each one of those manila folders is a year: a fall, and a spring, and a summer.”

Each year he mentored close to 20 students in the Creative Media and Technology department. He has mentored and watched students grow from their freshman years to their graduation, he said.

“I like getting kids freshman year so I can teach them and mold them,” he said. “Every year they become more independent and do things.”

He also works with local high school students during the summer.

“Probably for 10 or 12 years, I’ve always hired students through the Upward Bound program during the summer time,” said Cervantez.

The Upward Bound Program brings local high school students to Chico State to attend college-preparatory classes and work for the summer. This helps the students to prepare for their upcoming college experience academically and socially, he said.

Cervantez understands the importance of focusing on education when working with students. Even with the considerable amount of work he has them do, he has always made sure their priority is doing well in school.

“And I watch close so they don’t get overwhelmed with work, because the first thing is education,” said Cervantez. “Education opens a door for you.”

The importance of getting an education runs deep in Cervantez’s family values, he said. He met his wife while attending Chico State. Their three children have attended and graduated from Chico State and he hopes their grandchildren will follow in the family’s footsteps.

When Cervantez was a student, he was a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA). For half a year during his time as a Wildcat, he was president of MEChA, he said.

Now he’s on the Latino Grad Celebration Fund Board, which awards a $500 scholarship to a student in financial need who is committed to the Latino community.

This scholarship is awarded to a student who plans to pursue an advanced degree or credential. It is important to Cervantez to support students that want to further their education, he said. He is a strong believer that everyone should get a fair chance.

He and his wife also sponsor a student who is going to participate in the Latino Grad Celebration.

“A student usually needs to put in $75 or $80, and that’s their fee to go to Latino grad program,” said Cervantez. “Well we pay for that, and we’ve done that for the last four or five years.”

With his retirement quickly approaching, Cervantez reflects fondly on his experiences here. He met his wife, got his degree, and positively impacted the lives of many Wildcats.

As the Creative Media and Technology department inevitably evolves, he hopes the opportunities for students continues to grow and that the integrity of the department that he helped build is his legacy.