Hall of Fame inductees announced for ceremony in March

Jenny Gonzalez

The inductees for the 2017-18 Hall of Fame ceremony were announced in December 2016. They are as follows:

  • Distinguished Female Athlete – April Brown
    (Track and Field)
  • Distinguished Male Athlete – Lorenzo Romar
    (Basketball)
  • Distinguished Coach – Jeff Smith (Basketball)
  • Distinguished Alumnus – Patrick Schwerdtfeger
    (Class of 1969)
  • Distinguished Faculty – Donna Miller (Speech
    Communications)
  • Distinguished President’s Award of Excellence
    – John Jackson (Professor Emeritus of Automotive Technology)
  • Distinguished Corporate Partner – Tilden-Coil
    Constructors Inc.

Cerritos College President Dr. Fierro said, “Every year in March we have the Hall of Fame…[where the inductees] get nominated by their peers.”

The inductees are chosen through separate committees, then the names are sent to Fierro and he makes the final approval.

April Brown was selected as the Track and Field inductee for her hard work and record-breaking wins. According to the Hall of Fame ceremony program, “April Brown set and broke her own record in the 100 meters and 200 meters numerous times.

“She went on to win the state championship in the 100 meters both years, while she won the state title in the 200 meters as a sophomore. Brown is the only sprinter in Falcon history to win the state championship in either event.” states the program.

John Jackson is receiving the Distinguished President’s Award of Excellence, which Fierro worked with a committee to decide who would receive the award. He expressed that “He was one of the first instructors at Cerritos College. He was highly involved with the college in his time here and when he retired was enrolled in scholarships for the automotive technology program.

“He made some contributions and connected others to do that and essentially he left a big mark on the college, especially in the career and technical programs.” said Fierro.

He stated that he does not live locally, but he visits to meet with the Retired Faculty Association and is still heavily involved with Cerritos College. Fierro believes he is an, “extremely good guy and very passionate about Cerritos College.”

“When I called him, it was very interesting because I have met him obviously in our committees here with our faculty, so when I was trying to contact him he was like ‘why are you insisting so much in getting in touch with me?’ so I said, ‘I just called to let you know you have been nominated’ and he was silent and he was like ‘oh wow’, he was very touched.” expressed Fierro.

Lorenzo Romar is chosen to receive the Distinguished Male Athlete Award. He was a basketball player from 1976-78. According to the program, “He was recruited to play at the University of Washington before being drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the NBA and had a five-year professional career that saw him play for three teams.”

Fierro stated that for the Distinguished Faculty Award, the decision was difficult to make because, “There are a number of applications… for Distinguished Faculty. We have had… great faculty over the years, so… this year it was difficult to pick Distinguished Faculty because [the] candidates were very good.

“To be [considered for] the President’s Award… it’s a lifetime sort of achievement; contributions will require everyone on the table to be very much invested in, and there may be years when you don’t have someone that receives that particular award. This year [Donna Miller’s] name came up and very quickly went to the top.” said Fierro.

Jeff Smith will receive the Distinguished Coach award for his contributions at Cerritos College for more than 25 years. Smith was the wrestling coach for 21 years, and spent seven years as Athletic Director.

According to the program, “During his tenure as the Falcons head coach, Smith posted a 212-32-2 record, coached 22 individual state champions during his tenure, 75 All-Americans, while his teams also won seven Southern California championships.”

Patrick Schwerdtfeger will receive the Distinguished Alumnus award. Fierro said, “I called Patrick… and we started chatting and eventually he kind of got quiet and so once I told him he was like ‘What?!’ so he was very surprised.”

Fierro mentioned that Miller and Schwerdtfeger both came to Cerritos College at the same time and believes they have talked about receiving the awards because they are still friends.

Tilden Coil will receive Distinguished Corporate Partner due to the contributions to Cerritos College, such as the contracting of several buildings on campus. Fierro believes Cerritos College has been working with Tilden-Coil for approximately five years.

“[Tilden-Coil] is involved in our golf tournament. Cerritos has a gold tournament every year in August so they have been corporate sponsors for the golf tournament for a number of years.

They traditionally sponsor a table… at the Hall of Fame so they have been involved at the institution, not only the construction [aspect], which is their job, but actively investing in our college.” expressed Fierro.

He states that for the ceremony, “It feels almost like a very big homecoming type of reunion because most of the people that go know each other for a long time… so they probably haven’t seen each other in a while.

“It’s very exciting to see people see each other again, and there are some that go every year and that is the only time of the year they see each other; they get there and they pick up where they left off the year before.” said Fierro.

The ceremony is set to take place March 2 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Norwalk, Ca.