IMPERIAL — To honor the late Reuben O. Lopez, Imperial Valley College dedicated a marble bench immortalizing the former dean for his dedication to the college’s External Campus and education in the Imperial Valley.
Reuben Lopez was born in Colorado and moved to the Imperial Valley to work at IVC. While there, he helped establish the IVC Extended Campus in 1974; a series of classes for the residents of Imperial Valley who did not feel comfortable coming to the regular campus because of age or English proficiency. It began in El Centro with a small office and staff, but under Lopez, later grew to provide over 20 classes in every corner of the Valley.
A determined advocate of education, Lopez was known to all as a down to earth man who cared about the community and according to friends, also a collector of fine, exotic pens.
According to IVC President Dr. Victor Jaime, there was no way the school could dedicate just one building to Lopez since he had a part in every educational department of IVC. So the committee chose the bench, since the same had been done for one other person on the IVC campus.
IVC trustees also presented the first Reuben Lopez Community Award, an award to be given to outstanding members of the community that had connections to IVC. The first of many of these awards has been given to Cesar Guzman, a retiree from IVC who strives to help in the community by still teaching American citizenship classes for the public. Guzman worked with Lopez and was also his longtime friend up until his death.
The bench will be a small but significant dedication to someone who did much for IVC and for the Valley community as a whole, according to IVC officials.
“When students pass by and they sit there, he will be there forever. We felt this was a very good way we could pay tribute to him, a lasting legacy,” said Dr. Jaime.