June 2009

FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009

Mt. SAC to Offer Child Care Food Program

WALNUT, Calif.,––—For the 15th consecutive year, the Child Development Center at Mt. San Antonio College is offering a free and reduced-cost Child Care Food Program to all children who attend the center.

Through this federally funded program, the center serves nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks to approximately 200 children from birth through age 5.

TUESDAY, JUNE 09, 2009

Baca Named to State’s Community Colleges Board of Governors

WALNUT, Calif.—Dr. Manuel Baca, a Mt. SAC Board of Trustees member since 1999, has been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors for a three-year term. He will continue to serve on the Mt. SAC board concurrently.

The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges sets policy and provides guidance for the system’s 72 districts and 110 colleges. The 17-member board formally interacts with state and federal officials and other state organizations.

Baca, 60, of Diamond Bar, has worked at Rio Hondo College since 1982 and currently serves as a full-time, tenured faculty member, teaching political science, business management and business law. He was elected to Mt. SAC’s Board of Trustees in 1999 and re-elected in 2003 and 2007, and has served as board president and other executive offices. Statewide, Baca served on the California Community Colleges System Strategic Plan Steering Committee in 2005.

Baca served as Rio Hondo College’s interim president in 2007 and was the interim dean of business, arts and applied technology from 2004 to 2006. He served as vice president of student services from 1991 to 1997 and director of the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), financial aid/veterans’ services from 1982 to 1991.

Baca earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Fullerton and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Long active in civic, educational and business interests and associations within the greater San Gabriel Valley, Baca is a member of the Kiwanis of Walnut Valley; a mentor with the El Monte Union High School District; a member of the 32nd Congressional District's U.S. Military Academies Advisory Committee; a charter member of the Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles; a past member of the Rio Hondo Symphony Association and the Los Angeles and Rio Hondo Boys & Girls Club executive committees.

Mt. SAC President Selected to Lead SanFACC

Dr. John S. Nixon, president/CEO of the state’s largest single-district community college, has been selected chair of the San Gabriel/Foothill Association of Community Colleges (SanFACC).

Nixon succeeds Dr. Paulette J. Perfumo, president of Pasadena City College, and will serve a one-year term.

SanFACC, founded two years ago, is comprised of Chaffey College, Citrus College, Glendale College, Mt. San Antonio College, Pasadena City College and Rio Hondo College.

Nixon has been Mt. SAC’s president since 2007 and previously served as vice president of Instruction. A 30-year education veteran, Nixon was 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.

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.

SanFACC seeks to establish and maintain good communication between the region’s community colleges and to work together to represent the colleges’ regarding legislative matters. SanFACC’s top priority for the upcoming fiscal year is maintaining community college funding through ongoing advocacy efforts.

Nixon’s term as chair comes at a time when SanFACC’s member colleges, as well as those throughout the state, are faced with unprecedented budget challenges.

“In all my years in education, I haven’t experienced a fiscal crisis as severe as this,” Nixon said. “The situation is serious for the state and for the community colleges. Our collective regional voice is now more important than ever.”

Mt. SAC Student Awarded $30,000 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

WALNUT, Calif.—Mt. San Antonio College honor student Xiwen Wang is one of 30 scholars selected among 480 community college nominees across the nation to receive the 2009 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Wang’s selection marks the third consecutive year that a Mt. SAC student has been granted this prestigious scholarship, valued up to $30,000 annually.

“Having a student chosen for such a competitive scholarship for the past three years speaks highly to the caliber of students we have here at the college,” said Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, vice president of student services. “We are so proud of Xiwen, and we have high expectations of her, based on her stellar achievements and contributions to Mt. SAC.”

Previous Mt. SAC winners are Miguel Del Mundo (2007), who transferred and recently graduated from USC and will pursue graduate work at Princeton; and Kiran Alvi (2008), who also transferred to USC.

A West Covina resident, Wang, 20, will use her scholarship next fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the prestigious Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She will graduate with honors from Mt. SAC on June 12.

“I feel really grateful,” Wang said. “I’m in awe at how things have come together for me during my time here at Mt. SAC. And now this . . . I think I’m still dreaming!”

Wang is a member of Mt. SAC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society, as well as the college’s chapter of Alpha Gamma Sigma, California’s community college honor society. She served as an Associated Students senator and president of the Students in Free Enterprise club. She also actively supported the college’s Measure RR campus improvement bond campaign last fall.

Wang was recently named a Student of Distinction and won several campus scholarships this spring, including the Dexter MacBride Leadership Scholarship and Kay Ragan Student Government Leadership Award Scholarship.

The Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Program helps high-achieving, low-income community college students to make the transition to four-year colleges and universities by providing funds for tuition, housing, fees, and books.

Mt. SAC Planetarium to Shine Again

WALNUT, Calif.—After five years in the renovation process, Mt. SAC’s planetarium is set to take its place among the stars and reopen with a new look and state-of-the-art equipment.

The Jim and Eleanor Randall Planetarium boasts a $480,000 state-of-the-art Zeiss Skymaster ZKP 4 projector and a multimedia Digistar 3 sky projection system that replaces the former antiquated projector from the 1960s. Also replaced was the decades-old seating and interior. Renovation work was also completed on the planetarium’s 35-foot dome.

“The Zeiss star projection system is just like the ones used at the Griffith Observatory and Smithsonian’s planetarium in Washington, D.C.,” said Natural Sciences Dean Larry Redinger.

The refurbished facility has a larger 100-seat capacity and will feature programs for public and elementary school students as well as serve as a classroom for Mt. SAC students. The projector can show more than 4,000 stars and allow visitors to transport themselves instantly to any location on Earth to observe the sky at any time during the year.

“The planetarium is special because it serves everybody, not just astronomy students,” said Earth Sciences and Astronomy Department Chair Julie Bray-Ali. “There are educational opportunities here for students from other disciplines like chemistry, English, and history.”

Mt. SAC’s planetarium is also special because it is the only planetarium in the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. It has been estimated that over the years, more than 300,000 people have been involved in the planetarium through classes, community programs, and school tours.

“There are not too planetariums accessible to students, and there’s more interest, more demand for them as interest in astronomy increases,” said Bray–Ali.

Hampered by lengthy delays in the process through the state architect’s office and problems inherent in fundraising, the renovation began in October 2003 with a campaign fundraiser that included author Ray Bradbury and actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame. No bond funding was used for the project, which cost over $1 million.

On the other hand, the renovation project was aided by Mt. SAC faculty who took a special interest in the prospects of a technologically sophisticated facility. For some Mt. SAC science professors, the planetarium renovation was an opportunity to invest in enriching the educational experience of their students.

“Our faculty from other disciplines in the sciences saw the potential for this facility, and they wanted to volunteer to help with the renovation project,” said Redinger.

The planetarium will revive its programs for the community and students beginning next fall.

TUESDAY, JUNE 02, 2009

Former Mountie Track Star to Be Honored as "Alumnus of the Year" at 63rd Commencement

WALNUT, Calif.––Dr. Don Morris, a retired administrator at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and former Mt. SAC track star, will be honored as Mt. San Antonio College’s “Alumnus of the Year” at the college’s 63rd commencement on Friday, June 12, 6:30 p.m., at the campus stadium.

“One of the greatest influences in my life was the opportunity to compete in track for my Mt. SAC coach, Hilmer Lodge,” said Morris, a member of the Class of 1950. “Any success I have had can be traced to my years at Mt. SAC and the powerful influence of Coach Lodge.” Today, Mt. SAC’s stadium is named after Lodge.

Under the legendary Mt. SAC coach, Morris placed second in the nation in the 400-meter hurdles during his days as a Mountie. He also placed third in the 120-yard high hurdles and the 220-yard low hurdles at the National Community College Championships. He would later go on to earn a track scholarship and compete for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He earned his doctorate from UCLA.

During his 40-year career in education, Morris served as a secondary teacher and administrator, a founding administrator at Moorpark College and a professor at UC Santa Barbara before serving 15 years as personnel director, housing director, dean of extended education, and professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In addition, Morris enjoyed a 42-year career in the U.S. Navy—four years in active duty as an aviator, and the remainder as a Navy Reserve officer, retiring in 1990 as commander.

In the community, he has served on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Education and as president of the Simi Valley Parks & Recreation Board of Directors. He was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame and named “Alumnus of the Year” for both Cal Poly (2001) and Chaffey High School (2008).

Today, at age 79, Morris still competes. He has more than 100 medals from Senior Olympics competition and is the current Senior World champion in basketball free-throwing and 3-point shooting. “The Senior Olympics is the key to my 79 years of good health, because it requires me to work out at least twice a week to prepare for competitions,” he said.

His selection as Mt. SAC’s “Alumnus of the Year” was based on professional accomplishments as well as philanthropic and community activities.

MONDAY, JUNE 01, 2009

City of Hope CEO to Address Mt. SAC Commencement

WALNUT, Calif.—Dr. Michael A. Friedman, president and CEO of the world-renowned City of Hope, will present the commencement address to Mt. San Antonio College’s Class of 2009 on Friday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the campus stadium.

“We look forward to hearing Dr. Friedman’s words of inspiration and motivation for our graduates, who face the challenges of entering a highly competitive job market during tough economic times,” said Mt. SAC President & CEO John S. Nixon.

Under Dr. Friedman’s leadership, the Duarte-based City of Hope is regarded as “one of America’s best hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. It is a leading, innovative biomedical research, treatment and educational institution dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

During the commencement ceremony, the college will honor Dr. Don Morris as “Alumnus of the Year.” Morris was a member of the Class of 1950 and a track and field standout. After graduating from Mt. SAC, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UCLA, Morris served as personnel director, housing director, dean of extended education, and professor at Cal Poly. He was also a founding administrator at Moorpark College and was a professor at UC Santa Barbara. At 79, Morris remains an honored athlete with more than 100 medals from Senior Olympics competition. He is the current Senior World champion in basketball free-throwing and 3-point shooting.

In addition to honoring Mt. SAC’s retiring faculty, the college will recognize outstanding students and award hundreds of associate degrees and bachelor degrees in aviation management in partnership with Southern Illinois University. This year 2,605 graduation petitions were processed, further establishing Mt. SAC as one of the nation’s top-tier degree-awarding institutions. The Class of 2009 ranges in age from 16 to 69.