Distinguished faculty accept awards at Inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony

Talon Marks Online News

Talon Marks Online News

Talon Marks Online News

Faculty members, honorees and their families attended the Cerritos College Hall of Fame Awards ceremony on Thursday at the Cerritos Sheraton Hotel.

With Cerritos College’s Culinary Arts Department catering the event and several of the Cerritos College music students performing, the attendees received a three course meal with music playing as they awaited for the awards ceremony to start.

Cerritos College Student Services Vice President Steve Richardson was the host for the ceremony as Cerritos College President Linda Lacy handed out the awards.

As each person was called up to receive the award, a video interview was played where the recipients talked about their life before, during and after Cerritos College.

There were seven awards given out:

  • Barbara Reinalda for Distinguished Female Athlete
  • Ron Yary for Distinguished Male Athlete
  • Wally Kincaid for Distinguished Coach
  • GST for Distinguished Corporate Partner
  • Dr. Gerald P. Roodzant for Distinguished Alumnus
  • John Gallant for Distinguished Classified/Confidential
  • Edward Bloomfield for Distinguished Faculty

Reinalda said about being recognized by Cerritos College, “Without things that transpired during my Cerritos years, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”

Reinalda was part of the first two Falcon softball teams in the school’s history and was named MVP for both seasons.

She then went on to play for Cal Poly Pomona, spent 19 years pitching for the Raybestos Brackettes in Starford, Conneticut and then played for Team USA during the World Championships and Pan American Games.

During her time with the Raybestos, Reinalda was inducted into several Hall of Fames, including the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1999.

She is currently in her 11th year as the softball coach for Yale University.

Reinalda said her next goal will be “to be an ivy league contender.”

Another former athlete at Cerritos College, Ron Yary played a year for the Falcons football team.

“I remember playing nine games in a season and we played a very difficult schedule, we played all of the top teams. We were expecting to have a great year but I think we ended up with 5 victories and four losses which turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment.”

It has been 47 years since his time playing for Cerritos.

After playing for Cerritos, he was then drafted by the University of Southern California.

He said that playing for Cerritos helped to prepare him for his future football career.

“By going to a junior college first, playing against better athletes got me ready to participate in a higher level the next year which I was able to and I was able to start as a sophomore at USC, the defensive end because of the experience I had here at Cerritos College.”

He played as the Trojans’ offensive lineman for three years and won both the Outland Award and the Knute Rockne Award his last year.

He helped his team to win the National Championships and after USC was the first offensive lineman to ever be drafted No. 1 by the National Football League.

He spent the next 14 years playing for the Vikings and was named all-pro six times, all-National Football Conference for eight straight seasons, played seven straight Pro Bowls and was named the NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year three times.

He played his last year of football with the Los Angeles Rams in 1982.

In 2001, Yary was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

As a former coach, during his thank you speech, Kincaid said, “Well it has been a great journey for me.”

At the age of 86, he then joked, “I’m still going to coach, I’m going to coach till I’m 90. I’m not sure who I’m going to coach for.”

Kincaid coached the Cerritos baseball team for over 40 years. Within those forty years, he coached his team to multiple conference championships.

In 1990, Cerritos College named its baseball field in honor of the former Falcon coach.

Someone who also believes in giving back, Dr. Roodzant said to Kincaid, “Coach Kincaid, the truth be known, if I had had the opportunity to pitch for you instead of going into dentistry, I would’ve done it in a heartbeat.”

Roodzant, who is a dental practicioner in the Whittier-La Mirada area, is involved in several foundations dedicated to giving back to the local community, including the Cerritos College Foundation.

He said in his thank you speech, “It takes a lot of people to set you on the right path and Cerritos College did that early on in my career.”

He continued, “And so we keep on doing what we are doing for Cerritos College, so that we can be the stepping stones for the next generation.”

Another member of the foundation, J.P. and Alice Wang, both the owners of GST, are corporate partners with Cerritos College and provide the Alice Wang Scholarship for single mothers attending Cerritos College interested in child development.

Alice Wang said that she and her husband feel the need to payback to society since her husband was able to get a better education due to receiving scholarships.

The Wangs have been able to raise over five million dollars for their scholarship.

Alice Wang said about raising the money, “I just can’t believe it, it just happened. I’m so happy that I can raise that much money and the money continues to come and so I hope that one of these days we can do much more than what we’re doing right now.”

While being happy about the money she raised, Alice also talked about her reaction to being inducted into the Cerritos College Hall of Fame.

She said the reward of being acknowledged made her and her husband feel a sense of accomplishment and feels that she needs to do more for the Cerritos College Foundation.

Distinguished Classified/Confidential recipient John Gallant worked for Cerritos College for 35 years until his retirement in 2011.

As a student at Cerritos College, he also became a husband and father.

Looking for employment so that he could support his family while still being able to attend school, he first started working in the Admissions and Records Office in 1976.

Gallant worked in several different departments during his career at Cerritos and was well known for being the emcee at the Outstanding Classified Awards ceremony for 11 years in a row.

The faculty even requested him to continue to emcee the ceremony after his retirement.

He served as an administrative assistant and mentor to 16 Cerritos College vice presidents.

“Cerritos was family. I came forty years ago to go to school and never left.”

“I had the privilege of working at a place that I loved with people that I loved and that doesn’t happen to everybody.”

He mentioned that he worked under 14 different bosses during his years at Cerritos and joked about all the different types of people he worked with.

Also having worked for Cerritos College for 35 years, Distinguished Faculty recipient Edward Bloomfield was a philosophy teacher. He began working for Cerritos College in 1968.

“If they had heard of philosophy at all it would have been in a social studies or history class or someone might have mentioned the Greeks or made a passing reference to Socrates or Plato or Aristotle. But what I tried to do was take the lid off and teach them that if you expand your ideas, you will enlarge your world and that an idea is dynamite.”

“It can be one of the most powerful experiences you will ever encounter.”

During his tenure, he created a philosophy library in the Philosophy Department so that students with a passion for philosophy could have the opportunity to learn as much as possible.

After retiring in 2003, Bloomfield then created the Edward H. Bloomfield Scholarship for philosophy majors.

He talked about why he created the scholarship.

“I felt that philosophy didn’t get enough recognition on campus and I wanted to do something significant and I thought money is always a good thing.”

Being such an involved and dedicated teacher, he said his greatest achievement was the friendships he developed with his former students.

“I hear from former students from 40 years ago on a regular basis and it really does light up my life.”

He said that receiving the award made him think of all of the other Cerritos College that are devoted to students achieving their goals.

To end the night, Johnson said, “We leave tonight knowing that these seven individuals have established a lasting legacy for Cerritos College and have set the bar high for those to follow.”