‘Unprecedented’ pair of awards announced at welcome back staff gathering

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Mariano Aguilar Jr., English and Mexican-American studies instructor, congratulates Mona Aldana-Ramirez, director of retention and transition, during the staff and faculty Welcome Back gathering at the Victory Center Jan. 16. The ceremony was hosted to congratulate staff and faculty who served 15 years or more. Mathematics Professor Walker Hunt and psychology Professor Stanley D. McCloy were awarded for their 50 or more years of service at this college. Mitchell Gawlik

‘I really enjoy our students, colleagues and staff’ award recipient says.

By Rogelio Escamilla


Psychology Professor Stanley McCloy and mathematics Professor Walker Hunt both received the first 50-year service award at a welcome back gathering hosted for faculty and staff Jan. 16.

Breakfast tacos and orange juice were served to the audience of more than 100 people in the Victory Center lobby.

President Robert Vela awarded 15, 25, 40 and 50-year service awards to 35 recipients. This was the first time a 50-year service award was considered at this college, according to college project facilitator Dinorah Gonzalez-Alcoser. Vela said one 50-year award is rare, but two at the same time is “unprecedented.”

President Robert Vela awards Mary Esther Moreno, early childhood center administrative assistant, for 15 years of service during the staff and faculty Welcome Back gathering at the Victory Center Jan. 16. Staff and faculty with 25, 40 and 50 years of service also received awards. Mitchell Gawlik

Three 40-year service awards were also distributed to library assistant Amory Irby, Vernell Walker, dean of academic success; and Maria Linda Casas, physical education specialist.

Hunt said one of the biggest changes he has seen in his 52 years at this college was in the ages of students.

“Now students are a lot older,” he said. “Most students used to be fresh out of high school. Now a lot of them have families.”

Hunt then added a sentiment echoed by McCloy, Vela and several other service award recipients.

“I really enjoy our students, colleagues and staff,” he said. “I don’t know of any place where there is a better staff.”

McCloy reflected on the largest change he has seen in 50 years of service.

“We’ve had a major shift across the country,” he said in an interview. “Online classes are becoming more popular. There have been less face-to-face classes. I’ve already converted most of my classes to online.”

Casas described one of her favorite moments in her 40-year career.

“I have many,” she said. “I would have to say when I was hired in the kinesiology department. I worked most of my life in the library, but I would always spend more time in the gym.”

Walker said meeting her mentor, accounting Professor Nina Olsen, during her first day of class was the best thing that has happened to her.

“I waited outside of her classroom the first day,” Walker said. “I wanted to drop her class. I went up to her after class and told her that, and she looked me in the eyes and said ‘no.’”

After refusing to drop her, Olsen became Walker’s go-to professor. She recalled one of the lessons she learned from Olsen.

“Everyone can be successful,” Walker said. “It’s about having good support. Everybody needs that, a mentor is important.”

Vela announced Hunt and McCloy’s remarks upon receiving their rocking chair-shaped awards.

“I just want to let you know,” Vela said to the audience. “They told me that they’re not ready to sit in those chairs.”


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