Heritage Hall: Supporter’s Testimony

                                      A Message from the Honorary Committee Chairman
 

Dear Friend of Education,

 

My name is Shi Zhang, and I would like to thank you for taking a moment of your time to hear a story I have to tell.  It is about a very proud new citizen of the United States (me) and Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.  Every new citizen of the United States has a story to tell, but I think you will find mine to be unique.

 

In 1979, a team of American teachers and coaches visited China for a month-long lecture tour.  A Mt. SAC professor was part of that team and among his other responsibilities, he invited the National Chinese Track and Field Team to visit Walnut and compete in the Mt. SAC Relays.

 

They accepted, and in 1980, the first-ever Peoples Republic of China team to travel to the United States came to Mt. SAC for three months of training and to compete incur nation’s largest international track and field event, the Mt. SAC Relays.  They were unaware that Taiwan’s National Team (under the direction of one of Asia’s greatest athletes and Taiwanese Senator Chi Cheng) was accepting their ongoing invitation to compete as well.

 

As Taiwan and the PRC (est. 1949) had never met in any athletic competition since WWII, the second historic event also took place at Mt. SAC.  After endless last minute negotiations between the two, it was agreed that the athletes could meet.  To the surprise of our State Department, Mt. SAC suddenly became the site of an international goodwill exchange never before thought possible.  Being called a “goodwill exchange” would put it mildly, as the athletes not only competed against each other, but spent hours talking, laughing, and dancing together before leaving.

 
I was actually part of that story, as soon thereafter Mt. SAC and my university in Shanghai at which I was teaching decided to establish a guest performers program.  I was honored to be selected as the first to represent my university and to teach and coach at Mt. SAC.  It was a dream come true and an experience that changed my entire life.  Like my experiences, I sincerely think I might have had a positive influence on my students and fellow colleagues as well.
 
I share this story because many in the local community do not really know or understand the respect and reputation Mt. SAC has around the world.  True, much of its international prestige comes from hosting our nation’s (and world’s) largest track and field meet each year, but it goes far beyond that.  As one our nation’s largest community colleges, its academic, vocational, and extra-curricular programs are as exceptional and diverse as its 40,000 plus student body.  The accomplishments and stories of successes are endless and this is why I am sending this letter to you today.
 

In Mt. SAC’s 61st-year history, many of us associated with the College feel when the community and world comes to Mt. SAC, they should be given the opportunity to learn of its heritage, meet in its new conference and banquet hall, and study in the atmosphere of dedication, success, and achievements. 

 
We will be building a new 28,000-square-foot Heritage Hall Education Center at the entrance to the college stadium, and we’d be greatly honored to have your name appear as one of our benefactors.  Your gift, like mine, will be one that will last a lifetime.
 

Shi Zhang, M.S., M.Ed.
County of Sacramento, Department of Human Resources