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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Going the Distance

April 29, 2014

Since his teens, Greg Serrano has found something he needs in the solitary stride of a long-distance runner. That extra something that pushes him, that settles over him as the miles pile up, has served him in all aspects of his life.

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Greg was a Business Administration student at SJVC Temecula when a position at the school opened up on the eve of graduation. Surely enough, Greg found himself working for the very school he studied at for his first job after graduation.

It did not start out that way.

“My cousin, Brenda, got me into cross-country running in high school,” says Greg. “At first I hated it, but I pushed through and it caught fire.”

A half-dozen or so years later, Greg maintains long-distance training that includes an 8-10 mile run, 4-5 days a week and a weight training schedule that has caused others, among them his late father, Patrick, to call him crazy.

“When I run I’m reminded of him and we have conversations,” says Greg, who has just started to run competitively. “Every run I do he is always by my side.”

It is in that spirit of perseverance and accomplishment that Greg to enroll in SJVC’s Business Administration program at the new Temecula campus – and which would make him part of the first graduating class. He had been working part-time at a popular pizza place and knew he had to find that runner’s push to pull away from the crowd and continue his education.

One of his main heroes is his uncle Tony who earned his Master’s Degree and is now a college instructor.

“He has been a great mentor for me,” says Greg. “He talks to me about my future, what I want to do, and he leads me to the right steps.”

College turned out to be a right step for Greg. Everyone at school could see his potential, his ease with others. He was involved in ASB and the Diversity Club. His positive energy touched many lives throughout his time on campus.

A week before he was to graduate Greg learned about a First Contact position opening up at the Temecula campus’ front desk. Soon after completing the interview process, Greg found himself sitting in a new employee orientation.

“I was pretty excited to come in for orientation,” says Greg. “And, every day I come to work with a smile that they gave me this opportunity.”

Greg is a natural for his position at the front desk. Part of his job is to welcome all who come through the doors of the campus, make certain they connect with the right people and make everyone, especially prospective students,  feel at ease and confident about their decision to check out the school.

“I like to talk with parents who are waiting while their son or daughter is meeting with an Admissions Advisor,” says Greg. “I get to hear their stories about why they want their child to go to school. It motivates me to know that there are still good parents out there encouraging their kids to get on the right track.”

Greg does all he can to help new students, current students and graduates alike to stick together for everyone’s benefit. He has helped to launch the campus Alumni Association and has hosted alumni events, spoken at graduation and orientations to help students and graduates stay connected.

“Greg was a leader on campus and is now growing in his level of professionalism, performing his job well and taking on additional tasks,” says Robyn Whiles, Campus Director. “He is an outstanding reflection of an SJVC grad: confident, skilled and professional.”

Greg’s own personal best is about to demonstrate itself even further.

He just competed in his first marathon in March and is on track to run his next half-marathon this July. His goal is to one day break the U.S. half-marathon record of just under an hour.

“Greg ran in honor of his father, and raised funds through sponsorships, which he donated to another cancer victim battling the disease,” says Whiles.

With that strong showing Greg plans to try out for the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio, Brazil. The 2020 Summer Olympics in China would make it a one-two punch for him.

“I’ll just keep on going and stay motivated,” says Greg, who takes some inspiration from a song’s lyric from Lupe Fiasco’s All Black Everything: ‘You can never know what you could ever be, if you never try, you will never see’.

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