Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Third annual hall of fame honors inductees

Linda Lacy, Cerritos College president and superintendent, presented the crystal award to Ron L. Lintzinger, CEO of Southern California Edison and Dintinguished Corporate Partner Inductee, at the Cerritos College 2014 Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards. Photo credit: Joe Zermeno

Three hundred and fifty people were in attendance at the Doubletree Hilton-Norwalk Vineyard Ballroom to welcome the Hall of Fame inductees Thursday, March 13 during the dinner and awards ceremony hosted by the Cerritos College Foundation.

The eight Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Shelly Hall (Distinguished Female Athlete – Women’s Basketball)
  • Antonio McKee (Distinguished Male Athlete – Wrestling)
  • Nancy Kelly (Distinguished Coach – Women’s Softball)
  • Eric Draper (Distinguished Alumnus – Class of 1985)
  • Carmen Garcia (Distinguished Classified Employee)
  • John Boyle (Distinguished Faculty – Biology)
  • Southern California Edison (Distinguished Corporate Partner – Ron L. Litzinger president)
  • Nello Di Corpo (Distinguished President’s Award of Excellence)

Linda Lacy, Cerritos College president said, “It’s a wonderful event to honor all the superstars of [the] college. Thousands of students have benefited from our honorees leadership, dedication and philanthropy.”

She said, “We’ve got a rich history with great traditions and [I] realized we were never recognizing the faculty, the staff; all the folks that helped contribute to such a great college.”

Lacy started the Hall of Fame three years ago.

“The Hall of Fame was established to recognize those individuals and corporations who have made outstanding contributions to the excellence of Cerritos College.”

“It’s just a great way of honoring people and acknowledging [them] while doing something nice for the college. That’s why we do it,” Lacy said. “And its been very successful ever year.”

Former congresswoman Diane E. Watson said, “I was so deeply impressed with [the Cerritos College] Hall of Fame inductees and how [Cerritos College has] honored their service; listening to their stories symbolizes the importance of higher education and learning of the extraordinary history, tradition and indomitable spirit that is Cerritos College. What a wonderful educational program you have implemented and are providing for the student populace of the area.”

Retired in 2011, Watson is a former representative for the United States Congress, a psychologist, professor and health occupation specialist, representing California’s 33rd Congressional district.

The official induction ceremony provided a banquet that was prepared by the Cerritos College Culinary Arts department, and prior to the actual ceremony of awarding the crystal trophy’s to this year’s inductees by Lacy, the student chefs and bakers came out of the kitchen back-lot to be introduced to the delight and appreciation of the guests.

They were applauded for their hard work and efforts which was reflected on their faces. The successful program is a combination of strong academics and applied knowledge through hands-on applications.

Sidhana Dhananjaya Jayathilake, culinary arts major, helped with the cooking, plating and baking at the banquet, said, “We shared the (hotel) kitchen facility and the colleges; it was an interesting challenge, a great team effort. A whole different situation,” he said.

The one-and-a-half year chef training student said it was a great experience doing such a large function, “It showcases the culinary arts intermediate and advanced students, including baking students, and highlighted what our classes do and what we’ve learned.”

Jayathilake mentioned department chair and Chef Michael Pierini, who created the menu, and whose expertise and training provides students with work experience through the program.

Acknowledging Instructional Lab Tech II Amanda Aiton and Jesusita Lopez, baking instructors, for designing the dessert, Jayathilake said, “[the Hall of Fame] was crazy, but it was fun.”

Shelly Hall [Distinguished Female Athlete – Women’s Basketball] set three career records, two single season records and countless single-game records during the 1984-86 seasons as a student on the Cerritos College women’s basketball team.

Antonio McKee [Distinguished Male Athlete – Wrestling] won a pair of state championships (1988-1989) while posting a combined 61-0 record, which is the second best all-time record in California Community College history. He went on to a successful Mixed Martial Arts career.

Nancy Kelly [Distinguished Coach – Women’s Softball] served as the college’s women’s softball coach from 1976 through 1997 and remained until her retirement in 2002.

She led her team to 502 career wins and the first state championship (1978) in California Community College history. She coached her team to 15 Southern California Regional Playoff appearances and five South Coast Conference championships. Kelly has the Cerritos College softball field for named in her honor in 2001.

Eric Draper [Distinguished Alumnus – Class of 1985] credits Cerritos College for piquing his interests in photography as a career when he began working for Talon Marks, covering the basketball team for the college newspaper.

Draper served as President George W. Bush’s chief photographer for the entire eight years of his presidency, photographing his daily activities at the White House, abroad and in his personal life.

Carmen Garcia (Distinguished Classified Employee) retired after 42 years of service was known as “the voice of Cerritos College.”

She is the longest classified employee in history of the Falcons. Garcia can remember using plug-in devices with cords similar to the one used in comedian Lily Tomlin’s act of the late ‘60s.

John Boyle’s [Distinguished Faculty – Biology] teaching career began in September 1974 at Cerritos College. He served as an instructor, department chairman, faculty senate president, interim dean and interim vice-president of instruction during his tenure. After his retirement, he continued to teach on an adjunct basis.

Southern California Edison (Distinguished Corporate Partner) was accepted by Ron L. Litzinger, president of SCE. He said SCE is committed to educational partnerships that nurture the imagination and foster the academic success of the future workforce. Edison has awarded Cerritos College over $250,000 in support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs. Most recently funding scholarships through the Edison Scholar Program and in support of green technology education.

Nello Di Corpo [Distinguished President’s Award of Excellence] truly made Cerritos College a “community college” during his 36 year tenure. Hired as a full-time business education instructor in September 1956, he became involved in the college’s Student Activities program, and is credited for forming the Phi Beta Lambda (the Future Business Leaders of America Club) on campus.

Lacy mentioned how inductees are selected into the Hall of Fame, “Each category has a committee that takes the applications, they review them, they submit the nominees to a steering committee. Alumni have a group of students, the athletes have a group of coaches, the faculty has a group of faculty members appointed by the faculty senate, and classified, the president of CSEA appointed those people to select the honorees.”

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Joe Zermeno, Staff Writer
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Third annual hall of fame honors inductees