Jerry Griffo Inspires Others to Believe Anything is Possible

When history graduate Jerry Griffo walked across the commencement stage during the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences ceremony on Saturday, May 19, he was astounded as his fellow graduates rose from their seats to give him a standing ovation. At the age of 65, Griffo is one of the oldest graduates in CSUSM’s Class of 2012.- Graduate Inspires Standing Ovation

“I was totally unprepared for the response from the crowd,” Griffo recalls. “I’m extremely flattered and also convinced that their applause and support wasn’t as much about me, as it was for what I represent… someone following their dreams. It strikes a chord with people and reminds us that anything is possible.”

Met Jerry about 35 years ago and his unique energy, enthusiasm and intelligence shone brighter even than the sparkling sun on the San Juan Capistrano beach where we started our first adventure together. That day Jerry led me through the Mission at San Juan during which he taught me about Mission Architecture, the mustard seed the Missionaries scattered whose bright yellow flowers marked the route from mission to mission that eventually became known as El Camino Real. He taught me about ornithology about the geology, sedimentology and the water drainage of the area and a whole buncha other stuff and it was still barely mid-afternoon.

We've met up a number of times through the decades either in California, on the road to Mexico or up here in British Columbia and it never changes, i learn, soak up really, from the wellspring of Jerry's energy, enthusiasm and intelligence. At one point in our adventures, when i was renovating and adding on to his house in Carlsbad, we spent many hours, days and months together eating from his orchard/garden, playing cribbage, solving the world's problems and sharing a few drinks to replenish the sweat we'd dripped on the job. In all of those hours and all of the others we've spent together i've continued to bask in Jerry's easily shared radiance. It's hardly surprising to me he got a standing ovation or that his message is that "anything is possible".