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Family Tradition Continues … Grandson wearing grandfather’s commencement gown 50 years after senior’s graduation from DMC

Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso/Melinda Eddleman

The commencement gown was first worn during a traditional Del Mar College (DMC) graduation ceremony in May 1971. Fast forward 50 years and the ceremony this Friday, May 14, will be anything but traditional. However, the family tradition of wearing that same gown will continue when DMC Class of Spring 2021 “prospective” graduate Carlos Medina celebrates “his special day” with his family while watching the College’s “virtual” commencement ceremony.

Medina represents the third generation to attend Del Mar College, and the Radio/Television major will be recognized for earning his Associate in Arts degree. His grandfather, retired Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) Captain Perfecto Rodriguez, Jr., wore the gown half a century ago when he earned his Certificate in Police Science from DMC.

Medina said, “It’s amazing and an honor to wear my grandfather’s gown, and I will always remember wearing it for graduation.”

A May 2016 Ray High School graduate, Medina thought about taking a long break after finishing high school but decided to enroll at DMC that fall. Medina discovered he needed to begin with developmental classes and took two or three classes each semester until he was ready to continue with college-level courses.

“Even though taking developmental classes took me longer to complete my degree, it was worth it,” said Medina. “I didn’t give up.”

While completing his coursework, Medina worked as a student worker in the College’s Del Mar TV area and says that he learned a lot from his supervisors and coworkers, who he calls friends.

So, what made Medina decide to major in radio and television production?

“While in high school, my friends and I made a movie that was uploaded to YouTube,” he says, adding: “I enjoyed producing and capturing action while being the cameraperson.” 

At DMC, Medina took most of his radio and television classes from retiring professor Mac Aipperspach, who’s considered a local and state legend in this academic discipline and career field.

“I feel very lucky to have had Professor Aipperspach as my teacher since he also taught all of my mentors,” said Medina. “He’s a well-known instructor in the media field.” 

After Friday, the soon-to-be-alumnus plans to continue his education and earn a bachelor’s degree in media arts from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Grandfather Rodriguez said that he feels excitement and gratitude that not only his children but also his grandchildren are following the family tradition of completing studies at Del Mar College. While working full time with the CCPD, Rodriguez started taking classes at DMC and even recruited several patrol officers to take courses to earn their certifications in police science from the College.

His own accomplishment is quite notable. Rodriguez was the first Mexican-American from the CCPD accepted for training at the National Academy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, Va., in 1974.

His college-days memories are different from his grandson’s, including smaller classes that were held in the Memorial Classroom Building on the East Campus, which served as the original College beginning in 1937.

“The College was only about three street blocks compared to today’s two campuses and three off-campus centers,” he mused, adding: “Del Mar College has always been well-known for providing an excellent education.”


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.