Spotlight On 2013 California Graduates

To celebrate Union Institute & University’s recent commencement ceremony in Sacramento, we are highlighting a few of the new graduates. Each participant was asked to write a response, in their own words, to the question “How has your Union Institute & University experience changed your life?”

Sergeant Tony Silva

B.S. Criminal Justice Management, 2013
Mark Dunakin Award Recipient
Turlock, California Police Department

Tony Silva

As a 27-year veteran in law enforcement I realized deep into my career the importance of a college degree. I was determined to earn my bachelor’s, and in 2011 I enrolled in Union Institute and University’s Criminal Justice Management program. In December 2012 I was seriously injured in the line of duty. Even while in the hospital with multiple leg fractures, I continued my academic studies. I was really determined; nothing was going to stop me from reaching my goal of a bachelor’s degree. The hard work paid off and in March I completed the Criminal Justice Management program. I am so proud to be a Union Institute and University alum. When I first enrolled at Union it was with an admittedly narrow focus of obtaining my degree for the purpose of testing for lieutenant. Since being injured I am even more thankful than ever to have my degree because it opens so many possibilities should I not be able to return to full duty.


Right after graduation from high school Sgt. Tony Silva attended Modesto Junior College, but chose to work full-time instead. After working as a grocery clerk and industrial electrician he graduated from Modesto Junior College Police Academy in 1987 and served as a deputy sheriff for San Joaquin County from 1987 to 1989. He joined the Turlock police department and was later selected as a field training officer and SWAT operator. In 2007 he returned to Modesto Junior College and was promoted to sergeant in 2008. Silva earned his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management from Union Institute & University in 2013. He was selected by the faculty to receive the Mark Dunakin Award in recognition of his deep commitment to law enforcement and his perseverance in the face of adversity.

Other 2013 California graduate profiles:
Lieutenant John Weaver
Lieutenant Frederick H. Bobbitt, Jr.