Hall of Fame inductees celebrated at DoubleTree Hilton
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President Jose Fierro wants students to know about the legacy that the 2017 Cerritos College Hall of Fame inductees have left behind.
“It is incredible to listen to the stories and hear how humble the beginnings of the college were. I think it’s important for our students and me to learn and appreciate what the previous generation has left for all of us to enjoy,” Fierro said.
He was referring to such legacies as April Brown (distinguished female athlete), Lorenzo Romar (distinguished male athlete), Jeff Smith (distinguished coach), Patrick Schwerdtfeger (distinguished alumnus), Donna Miller (distinguished faculty) and John Jackson (distinguished president’s award of excellence winner).
April Brown was a sprinter on the track and field team 2002-03, who broke records and won the state championship for the 100-meter (11.41 sec.) and 200-meter (23.91 sec.)
Lorenzo Romar received All-South Coast Conference recognition as a sophomore basketball player at Cerritos College and went on to have a five year long professional career. Since then Romar has played and coached for Athletes in Action. According to athletesinaction.org, the organization “[helps] sports-minded people think and live biblically at the intersection of sports and Christianity.”
Jeff Smith spent 21 years as the Cerritos College wrestling coach and then another seven as the department’s Athletic Director, retiring in 2008. He led the Falcons in 12 South Coast Championships, one State Championship (1995, which ended in victory for the Falcons’) and two dual meet state championships.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is recognized as one of the most successful community college forensic coaches in the state and nation.
According to the program for the Cerritos College 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony, “he developed an aptitude for competitive debating, [winning awards such as] Phi Ro Pi Nationals first place, and multiple awards at the State Championship level including distinction as first place in Extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking finalist, and second place in debate. [Schwerdtfeger] also participated in student government at Cerritos College, receiving a Silver Falcon award for his service.”
Donna Miller was hired as Director of Forensics at Cerritos College in 1972, acting as chairperson for the department, instructional dean of Liberal Arts, Interim Executive Dean of Community, Industry and Technology Education and Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Miller was also recognized with the Outstanding Faculty Senator award and was president of the Cerritos College Faculty Association for a time.
John Jackson was hired in April, 1957 and is one of the college’s first faculty members.
He also and played a pivotal role in the Automotive Technology program, developing curriculum to keep students up-to-date on changes in the automotive industry and providing students with connections in the field. After his retirement in 1991, he continued to donate to the college.
Jackson said, “What I tried to do in [my] speech was describe the automotive program and why it is what it is, because of the instructors we have, the facilities we have, the amount of work and the students we have. The end result is that our students can go on a and make a living.”
The crowd enjoyed itself as expressed by Trustee Carmen Avalos: “I had a great time. I really enjoyed this event. When you see how connected Cerritos College is, I saw the commitment to the students and to each other. It’s such a family.”