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Dolores Anguiano to walk the stage of the Don Haskins after 30 years in college

Annabella Mireles

When entering UTEP, you find students across campus diverse in age and ethnicity, all striving for the goal of one day graduating and earning their degree. For years, Dolores Anguiano has strived for the moment to walk across the stage of the Don Haskins — about 30 years to be exact. 

Dolores Anguiano is 86 years old and graduating this semester with a degree in multi-disciplinary studies. After graduating from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1954, Anguiano has finally reached a lifelong milestone of hers. For years she has continuously pushed herself to reach this point, walk the stage, and receive her diploma. 

“I came from a very poor family, and I saw how my parents suffered to put food on the table, that’s what pushed me really,” Anguiano said. “My mother would go cotton picking and my father would do construction work, but he still wouldn’t have enough (money) to put food on the table. Being poor made me want to finish my degree.” 

Along with determination forged by her circumstances as a young girl, the start of her academic journey was not an easy one. Although she enrolled at New Mexico State University, Dolores struggled due to the abusive marriage she was in at the time. 

“I was an abused wife,” Anguiano said. “When I started at New Mexico State, my husband would throw away my books because he didn’t want me to get educated.” 

Despite her obstacles, Dolores was supported from the very beginning to continue her education. Her former boss, Margret Borton Zenich, is the person Dolores credits with pushing her not only to leave her husband but to continue her education.  

“Do not give up. Just go for it. No one should stop you. It does not matter how old you are. Just go for it.”

“I would go into work with a black eye, and she would tell me, ‘When are you going to leave him, Dolores?’ but all I could do was put my head down,” said Anguiano. “She is one of many people who helped me go to school; if it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would have left my husband and gone back to school.” 

While attending school, Dolores also kept a full-time job at White Sands Missile Range for 32 years and took care of a family. She later became a substitute teacher at both Socorro and El Paso Independent School District until 2016.  

With her perseverance and humility, Dolores has continued to be a breath of fresh air everywhere she goes. Her carefree and gentle humor is a reminder that there is no limit to having fun and enjoying life to the fullest. As she reaches this big milestone in her life, one might ask what she plans to do next. 

“I thought about doing my master’s, but I can’t. All the walking and coming to school is going to be tiring,” said Anguiano. “My advisor even tried to convince me to do my master’s, but it’s too much. I am thinking of being a volunteer somewhere, but we’ll see.” 

From developing close relationships with the people at the Center for Accommodations and Support Services to her advisor, Dolores has always wanted to finish her degree even if it means finally leaving a place she calls home. 

“I’m sad to leave this place, (UTEP) has been my home for so long,” Anguiano said. “I have friends and heroes here that I want to thank. From my advisor Julio Rogers to Mr. Flores and the other lovely people of CASS and to people across campus, they’ve all helped me get here. They’ve all helped me get here and I’m blessed to have these people be there for me.” 

It is an emotional end for Dolores as she closes this chapter of her life. She wishes to thank everyone who has helped her reach this point and reminds students who feel like they cannot finish that it is possible, no matter how old you are. 

“Do not give up. If you get bad grades, you can make it up,” said Anguiano. “Go for it; just go for it. No one should stop you. It does not matter how old you are. Just go for it.”  

Itzel Giron is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter. 

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About the Contributors
Itzel Giron
Itzel Giron, Editor-in-chief
Itzel Giron is a senior multimedia journalism and creative writing student at UTEP. She started her journalistic career at The Prospector in the fall of 2021 as a staff reporter and is now editor-in-chief. Thanks to The Prospector and her tenacity, Itzel has had the opportunity to be an intern with KVIA Channel 7 at El Paso. Itzel is also a freelance journalist, and her work has been published in The City Magazine, Borderzine and Walsworth Yearbooks. After graduation, Itzel hopes to continue her passion of journalism by working in broadcast television reporting on politics, entertainment and news.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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Dolores Anguiano to walk the stage of the Don Haskins after 30 years in college