HUNTINGTON BEACH : Two Pillars of Academic Strength

A mother and son strolled across the Golden West College campus Friday afternoon sharing their memories of the school.

Dr. Adrian Eric Ramos, 40, a Modesto physician, pointed to one sidewalk on campus. “Hey, I remember skateboarding here,” he said.

His mother, Enriqueta Lopez Ramos, 63, smiled. “You’d wait for me while I took classes,” she said. “Sometimes you’d get into mischief.”

Enriqueta Ramos now holds a Ph.D. from UC Irvine, and she gives much of the credit for her success to Golden West.


Her son too is a Golden West graduate. Both are unabashed supporters of California’s community college system for reaching out to those who otherwise might not seek higher education.

“I was a high school dropout when I started classes here at age 33,” Enriqueta Ramos said. “If it had not been for this community college, I would probably be working as a clerk right now.”

Both were on campus for the community college’s annual Pillar of Achievement ceremonies. The college’s equivalent of a hall of fame, the Pillar of Achievement honors outstanding former students.

A plaque with Enriqueta Ramos’s likeness was added to the pillar in 1993. The Santa Ana resident is a trustee of the Rancho Santiago Community College District and a teacher at Cypress College.

On Friday, Golden West added a Pillar of Achievement plaque commending Adrian Eric Ramos. College officials said it was a first: No other families have been so honored.

Adrian Eric Ramos, a family practice doctor, was lauded for his service to medicine, which has included teaching at Modesto Community College.

He said he was spurred to higher education by the examples of his mother and his late father, Luciano Ramos, who was an aeronautical engineer. The community college system, he said, made his higher education possible.

“I graduated as a registered nurse from Golden West, and I worked as an R.N. during medical school at USC,” he said. The school, he said, “absolutely had a big effect on my life. Most of the people I grew up with [in Fountain Valley] went to community college before moving on.”

He said he tries to spread the word to young people that they can achieve success through the state’s most inexpensive and accessible college system.

“If people can look at me and say, ‘Hey, he went on to become an M.D.,’ that’s good,” he said. “I want to encourage people--let them know you can do what you want.”