March 2008

MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2008

Mt. SAC Art Gallery to Display Rainforest Exhibit

WALNUT, Calif.—The Mt. San Antonio College Art Gallery will present an exhibit inspired by the land of Amazon, “Art of the Rainforest,” which runs March 25 through May 8 at the Mt. SAC Art Gallery. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

“Art of the Rainforest” features paintings, drawings, and sculptures by leading artists who specialize in rainforest themes and elements. The artwork was selected for the exhibition based on its diverse subject matter, principles of composition, and resulting style. The exhibit was produced by curator/tour director David J. Wagner.

A special opening reception will be held Thursday, March 20, 4 to 6 p.m., in the Art Gallery preceded by an artist’s lecture and demonstration from 10 a.m. at 3 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday nights, 5 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call the Art Gallery at (909) 594-5611, ext. 4328.

New Mt. SAC Relays Director is a Familiar Face

WALNUT, Calif.—The new director of the world-famous Mt. SAC Relays is a familiar face around the oval at Hilmer Lodge Stadium. No one has to introduce Doug Todd to the protocol of putting on an international meet that regularly draws over 30,000 and showcases the world’s best in track and field.

“I’ve been intimately involved with the Relays since I got to Mt. SAC,” said Todd, who becomes the Relays fifth director as the meet celebrates its 50th running.

Todd, who was hired full-time at Mt. SAC as a track and cross country coach in 1995, has been involved in virtually every aspect of the Relays since then. He has served as Clerk of the Course and, for the past three years, Special Events Director for the meet. And he is well acquainted with the importance of this meet in the track world, especially in an Olympic year.

“Every April the world comes to Walnut, and we want to meet people’s expectations,” said Todd. “A lot of the athletes that you will see in Beijing later this summer in the Olympics will be here.”

Over the years, the biggest names in track––athletes like Carl Lewis and Marion Jones––have competed at the Relays. Now, as Relays Director, Todd tempers respect for Relays tradition with a new sense of purpose.

“We know how to put on a meet, but now we want to build the atmosphere around the meet,” he said.

Adding new elements to meet is first on his agenda, and one of the first is a series of Para Olympic races for amputees.

“The amputee athletes are some of the most talented athletes,” he said. “But they often go unrecognized because of their disability.”

So at the 50th Relays, right in the middle of the Day of Champions, a women’s wheelchair 1500-meter race and a men’s 100-meter heat for amputees have been scheduled.

As a Mt. SAC track and cross country coach––his teams have won 13 state championships since 1995 and he’s been tapped for coach of the year honors nearly every year––Todd knows how to coax the best performances out of people, and one way to do that is to give them opportunity and, of course, put the right person in the right place. So the idea to compartmentalize the different segments of the meet and delegate more of the responsibilities for running it was a natural to Coach Todd, whose overall philosophy for Relays can be boiled down to two main points.

“First, there’s always room for good people around the table, and second, no one can do this job by themselves and no one ever has. Every decision is based on what’s best for the event.”

The final mission for the new director is to spread the word about the Mt. SAC Relays, which includes the Youths Days, the Community College Division, the High School Division, the International Distance Carnival, and Day of Champions.

But even though the event draws spectators, athletes, and media from around the world and it’s the event that originally put Mt. SAC on the map, that mission may need some fine tuning.

“There are people from all over the world who come here for this meet, yet there are others right in our own backyard in Walnut and elsewhere locally who don’t know what the Relays are all about.”

The 50th Mt. SAC Relays will run April 12 and 17-20 at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut with the Youth Days portion of the meet slated for April 4-5.

Mt. SAC Youth Days to Welcome 280,000th Participant

WALNUT, Calif.—The Mt. SAC Relays Youth Days will welcome its 280,000th participant as an estimated 7,000 young athletes from more than 160 schools are expected to compete in the annual track and field event to be held April 4 and 5 at Mt. SAC’s Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

The Youth Days portion of the Mt. SAC Relays consists of two days of track and field competition and instruction for youth in grades 3 through 8. The Youth Days competition is made possible by the LA84 Foundation, which has provided a $130,000 grant for Mt. SAC to host the meet this year and has sponsored the event for the past 22 years.

“We are very proud of the partnership Mt. San Antonio College and the LA84 Foundation has established for Southern California youth,” said Youth Days Director Don Ruh. “Since its inception 22 years ago, this special athletic opportunity has introduced the sport of track and field to tens of thousands of young athletes, and this year we expect to pass the 280,000 mark.”

In addition to the two days of competition, the Mt. SAC Relays Youth Days, which serves as the kickoff event for the Relays, also provides elementary, middle, and junior high school students the opportunity to have a staff of Mt. SAC coaches and athletes visit their schools and provide track and field instruction through clinics and all-school assemblies, which are offered free of charge.

The LA84 - Mt. SAC Relays Youth Days is a nonprofit Olympic Development project. The 50th Mt. SAC Relays—competition for high school, college, university, and world-class athletes—will be run April 12, and April 17-20.

For more information about Youth Days, call the Mt. SAC Relays Office at (909) 594-5611, ext. 4840.

Two Mt. SAC Students Selected for the State Academic Team

WALNUT, Calif.— Mt. San Antonio College students Leanne Dogoldogol and Cheryl Jamison are two of the 76 community college students throughout the state recently selected for the 2008 All-California Academic teams, chosen by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international community college honor society.

Dogoldogol and Jamison, both students in Mt. SAC's Honors Program, will receive medallions and cash stipends during the Community College League of California’s awards ceremony held at the Sacramento Convention Center on March 27. The academic team award is based on grades, leadership, and community service.

Dogoldogol, 21, is currently a nursing student at Mt. SAC and carries a 3.68 GPA. She was selected for the All-California Academic First Team. A Chino Hills resident, Dogoldogol graduated from Mt. SAC in 2007 with associate’s degrees in mathematics and behavioral sciences. She is active in Mt. SAC’s PTK chapter and was the recipient of the 2007 International PTK outstanding president’s award. Dogoldogol was awarded a $1,000 Coco-Cola scholarship last year and was named one of Mt. SAC’s Students of Distinction in 2006. She also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina. She plans to transfer to UCLA and pursue a career as an emergency room nurse.

Jamison, 47, is a political science major and carries a 3.7 GPA. She was named to the All-California Academic Second Team. A resident of West Covina and a retired court reporter, Jamison serves on the President’s Advisory Council at Mt. SAC, serves as a justice on the Associated Students court, and serves as an Honors Program ambassador. She is the recipient of the Mt. SAC Communication Department’s Tan-Goulet award and has been nominated this year for Student of Distinction honors. Jamison is also active with the Apostolic church in Carson. She plans to transfer to UCLA or Pitzer College and eventually become a lawyer.

The 25 first-team, 26 second-team, and 25 third-team winners represent some of the best of the 2.6 million students enrolled in California’s community college system.


Mt. SAC to “Put on the Hits” for Student Scholarships

WALNUT, Calif.— Where can you see stars such as Elton John, Kiss, Britney Spears and Elvis all on the same stage? The answer is “Puttin’ on the Hits,” the Mt. San Antonio College Faculty Association's scholarship fundraiser. Show times are Friday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 15, at 3 and 7:30 p.m., in the Clarke Theater.

Mt. SAC professors, managers, staff, and students in authentic costumes will impersonate famous celebrities and lip sync their hit tunes. The program showcases several styles of music, including country, swing, R & B, hip-hop, and rock ‘n’ roll. These performances of “Puttin’ on the Hits” will mark the fundraiser’s 10th anniversary.

“We’ve been at this for 10 years now, and it’s one of events that truly makes Mt. SAC unique,” said show producer and mathematics professor Joan Sholars. Over the life of the fundraiser, more than $100,000 has been raised for student scholarships, Sholars said.

Tickets are $20 for general admission at all performances.

For tickets and information, call the Mt. SAC Performing Arts Box Office at (909) 468-4050.

Mt. SAC to Host 1,100 from Area High Schools during Seniors’ Days

WALNUT, Calif.—More than eleven hundred seniors from 39 area high schools are expected to converge on the Mt. San Antonio College campus for Seniors’ Days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, March 4, 5, and 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Campus tours and informative presentations are all part of the event designed to help high school seniors start planning for the future. Students will also learn about financial aid resources and the various support programs Mt. SAC offers to foster their academic success.

For more information, call the Mt. SAC High School Outreach Office at (909) 594-5611, ext. 5905.

Dr. John S. Nixon Named Mt. SAC’s 8th President

WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College Interim President Dr. John S. Nixon was named the permanent President/CEO of California’s largest single-campus community college district, effective immediately.

The Board of Trustees announced its unanimous selection last night in regular session, which concluded a nationwide search for the institution’s eighth president. The Board noted that Nixon’s candidacy received widespread support among the faculty, staff, student groups, as well as community leaders.

“We believe Dr. Nixon has the experience, vision, and leadership to advance Mt. SAC to the next level of excellence and distinction,” said Board President Dr. Manuel Baca. “He’s the right person for these challenging times when the institution must complete its campus master plan to accommodate future enrollment growth and expand academic and student support programs.”

Located on an expansive 420-acre campus in Walnut, Mt. SAC serves more students than most colleges and universities in California. It is also the largest single-campus community college district in the state—serving some 65,000 students annually, the majority of whom live in the 17 cities and unincorporated areas within its vast geographic district.

In response to his selection and challenge, Nixon said, “I am deeply honored and humbled by the Board’s vote of confidence in my qualifications and my vision to lead Mt. SAC to the next level of greatness. I am proud to lead an institution that is nationally known for its distinction academically, athletically and artistically.

“We have outstanding faculty at Mt. SAC, and our students bring added distinction to the College year after year with unparalleled honors and achievements in various disciplines. My role not only will be to build on this success, but also to effectively address the challenges associated with growth as well as future fiscal challenges stemming from the state’s budget woes.”

Having served as Mt. SAC’s Interim President/CEO since last July, Nixon started his tenure at the College in 2004 as Vice President of Instruction. He oversaw all instructional programs and services, including seven academic divisions with 2,270 full- and part-time faculty members.

As Interim President, Nixon has established relationships and broadened partnerships with local government, business, community, nonprofit and educational organizations and leaders.

A 30-year veteran in education, Nixon previously served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Santa Ana College for 12 years, where he supervised nine academic divisions as well as counseling services and learning resources. He also served for a year as Santa Ana’s Interim President in 1998 and as Associate Dean of Humanities and Assistant Dean of Continuing Education.

As a career educator, Nixon taught English and English as a Second Language at USC, and at UC Irvine, Santiago Canyon College, and Irvine Valley College. He also taught for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, at Ocean View High School, and at the University of Tunis as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Involved in community affairs, Nixon has served on the board of directors for the Orange County Community Health Care Clinics, the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Orange County Marine Institute. In addition, he has held statewide leadership roles, including co-chair of the System Advisory Committee on Curriculum, the statewide Basic Skills Advisory Committee, and as President of the California Community College Chief Instructional Officers Association.

Nixon holds bachelor and master degrees in English from UC Irvine, and a doctorate in English from USC. He has also co-authored two English textbooks.

Nixon and his wife, Mary, live in Irvine. They have two grown children, and their first grandchild is on the way.