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Press Release

Las Vegas Student is Reedley College Graduate

Published on Thu, May 23, 2013 (3:39 p.m.)


The 86th annual Reedley College Commencement was held Friday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. on the south lawn. Marina Mares, from Las Vegas, was among the 447 students receiving their A.A. and A.S degrees from Reedley College.
The 2013 Distinguished Alumnus was Sports Marketer John “Sonny” Vaccaro. He is probably best known for his tenure with Nike, Inc. when he signed Michael Jordan to his first endorsement deal. His visionary promotional innovations revolutionized the sports marketing genre with shoe contracts, team affiliations, and other ground-breaking promotional partnerships which have helped propel the fortunes of countless athletes, collegiate programs, and professional teams. In a career spanning 30-plus years in the shoe industry, he brought his marketing and player development magic to basketball programs at the worlds three largest athletic shoe and apparel companies: Nike, adidas and Reebok.
Vaccaro created several of the leading events in grassroots basketball. Beginning in 1965 when he cofounded the first national high school All-Star game, the Dapper Dan Roundball Classic. The game endured 43 years and its alumni include such greats as Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Chris Webber, and Patrick Ewing. He established the non-profit organization Hoops that Help in 1990. Contributions have surpassed $4 million over the years for programs benefitting the homeless, AIDS education, the Boys and Girls Clubs and other charities.
Sonny Vaccaro attended Reedley College in 1957-1958 and was a member of the Tiger football team. He graduated from Ohio’s Youngstown State University in 1963 with a degree in psychology. He did graduate work at Wichita State in Kansas.
Dianycza Covarrubias of Dinuba was the 2013 commencement student speaker. The student of note was Avelina Charles from Reedley.
State Center Community College trustee Ron Nishinaka assisted in presenting the graduates with their diplomas.

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