(Santa Ana, CA) Former Santa Ana College (SAC) alum and KTLA evening weather anchor Vera Jimenez was honored in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month during a virtual town hall discussion sponsored by the SAC Office of College Advancement & Foundation and KTLA 5 and named a 2020 SAC Hall of Fame recipient.
Vera Jimenez, a two-time Emmy award winner, said during her town hall discussion that her time at SAC helped her tremendously, particularly with her decision to move toward broadcast television journalism over print or radio. She said that although she is Latina and is proud of her heritage, she never allowed her race, gender or circumstances to hold her back.
“I never made my color an issue. I never looked at myself as someone different from someone else because of my color,” Vera Jimenez said. “I always looked at myself -- I’m as good as anybody else, and I’m as bad as anyone else. I am equal.’ And if someone else sees my color before they see who I am, then that’s on them. But I never made it an issue for myself. I just said ‘this is who I am, I’m going to work hard, and what I look like has nothing to do with it. And that’s what I focused on.”
“(Vera Jimenez) is a shining example of an outstanding, focused, ambitious, and successful Latina who is always giving back to others,” said Interim SAC President Dr. Marilyn Flores. “No matter how far she advances in her career, or how many times she appears on the television, she continues to stay well-grounded and connected to her roots.”
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the SAC Office of College Advancement & Foundation wanted to highlight Vera Jimenez, a Latina who emigrated from Mexico as a little girl and attended the college in the 90s. Sharing Vera Jimenez' history created an opportunity for current students, alumni and community members to be able to connect through her story during such a historical time.
“I owe everything to my family,” she said. “My mother worked long, hard hours, at multiple jobs, for very little pay. Through it all, she kept us strong. She taught me the importance of hard work. She did everything she could.”
Her colleague and fellow anchor Cher Calvin said Vera Jimenez is particularly successful because she genuinely cares about her work.
“What makes Vera Jimenez so special is her heart and that comes through in everything that she does,” said Cher Calvin, news anchor at KTLA 5. “It’s not just about the numbers for her. It’s more about how (news and weather coverage) is going to affect you, how it’s going to affect the community and she really cares about that.”
Dr. Flores highlighted Vera Jimenez’ ambition, dedication to community and many hours of service and volunteerism as an example of the type of individuals that SAC produces.
“(Vera Jimenez) represents what SAC is all about: excellence, paired with true care and attention to what matters. We are so proud to have selected (Vera Jimenez) as one of our 2020 SAC Alumni Hall of Fame recipients,” Dr. Flores said.
SAC student Jennifer Posadas, who helped work on the virtual town hall, said it was “amazing” to be back in the Digital Media Center, where the event was held.
“(Vera Jimenez) was great to work with and very inspirational,” Posadas said. “One thing that she said that resonated with me was how to move forward in your career goals when your parents or your main support system don’t see what your vision for your future is. I’m grateful to have received wonderful advice; from the KTLA camera person, to (Vera Jimenez), to everyone who worked on the Town Hall.”
Fellow student Ana Reyes, who is studying to be a broadcast news producer, said she too was inspired by Vera Jimenez.
“Meeting (Vera Jimenez) was amazing, she told me to persevere and never give up and was very encouraging,” Reyes said. “It’s really cool to see a SAC alum who is also a Latina be successful in the field that I want to be part of. (Vera Jimenez) inspires others to push forward through their education and reach their goals.”
For more information on Vera or any of the other outstanding Santa Ana College alum who have been inducted into the SAC Hall of Fame, please visit sac.edu/foundation or call 714-564-6091.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, and provides invaluable workforce training and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.