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My story as a Fullerton College student actually begins much earlier than the Fall of 1972 when I actually enrolled in the college. Growing up in Fullerton, just one mile away from “Fullerton Junior College,” I became familiar with the college at a very young age because my dad was taking evening classes there. Whenever we drove by the college, I’d always ask him “Is that where your classes are?” Every summer my mom would take my sister and me to Fullerton College for swimming lessons. First we went to the gym to sign up, and I always thought it was interesting that the train went right by the gym. We took a one-week swimming class every summer, and one summer I decided to take a diving class instead. After my first class, my mom said “Do you know who your teacher is? He’s the football coach!” Yes – the famous Hal Sherbeck was my diving teacher. He had us wear t-shirts over our bathing suits when we were diving. To teach us how to dive in backwards, he just took us one by one to the end of the low board, held onto our t-shirt and asked us to lean back – then let go! I also took tennis lessons on the Fullerton College tennis courts when I was about 10 or 11 years old – and continued playing tennis through high school on the GAA team. My parents also took us to the “Artist-Lecture” series offered through Fullerton College at the Plummer Auditorium – we enjoyed seeing concerts, ballet, famous actors, etc. The excellent community services and recreational programs offered through Fullerton Junior College made it an integral part of my world when I was growing up.
When it was time to decide where to go to college, there was no question – Fullerton College was my first choice. It was my home college, it was familiar, it had an excellent reputation, and many of my friends were going to college at Fullerton, too. In 1972 the name of Fullerton College changed (from Fullerton Junior College), so that’s how I’ll refer to it from here on.
Sometime before the start of the Fall 1972 semester, probably late August or early September, I went to Fullerton College for my registration appointment. It was organized chaos in the Student Center – tons of people going in all directions – and they all seemed to know what they were doing except me! By the way – I went on my own to register – no parents along. In 1972 any self-respecting college student would have been MORTIFIED to have been accompanied by a parent!! So I gathered my courage and asked someone where to go – they pointed to the sign that said “Station 1” – and off I went. There were a number of stations to get through the whole process of registration – possibly seven or eight stations. Once you finished one process, you went on to the next station. If the classes you wanted weren’t available, you went back, re-did your schedule, and tried again. Everything was done manually on paper – there were no computers. Miraculously, I made it through the process, got my classes – then went to the bookstore to buy all of my books so I could look at them before my classes started. I couldn’t wait to get started!
My major was English – because I’d always been good at reading and writing. In high school those were always easy “A” classes for me, so I figured that was a good place to start. Besides, my career goal at that time was to be a “stewardess” because I loved to travel. English was a good major because I could also include foreign languages as part of my program (highly desirable for being a stewardess). One of the required courses for all new students at that time was a ½ unit course called “Intro to College.” This was the course where you planned out your educational program for your AA degree (and transfer requirements). At that time I had no plans to transfer – I just wanted my AA degree. Royal Meservey was my counselor, and he’s the counselor who taught the “Intro to College” class. It was just a six-week class for “Credit/No Credit” – and it was a great way to be sure that you had a plan for your education.
I took between 16.5 and 18.5 units each semester and one summer school class, and completed every class I started. In those days relatively few students dropped out of a course. You finished what you started! While attending Fullerton College, I was also working 16 hours each week (on weekends) at Knott’s Berry Farm – and full-time in the summer. I completed my AA degree in English in Spring 1974 with a 3.0 GPA, and with all of my transfer requirements to transfer to Cal State Fullerton. Over my two years at Fullerton College, and because of my work in Entertainment at Knott’s Berry Farm, my career aspirations had shifted to radio broadcasting, and I transferred to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a major in Radio & Television.
Once I was at Cal State Fullerton, I discovered that the emphasis of their “Radio/TV” program was really on television – and I was more interested in radio. I had learned that Fullerton College had a very well-respected radio broadcasting program, with an actual on-air FM radio station, and Cal State Fullerton did not. So in January 1975, one semester after I’d transferred from Fullerton College to Cal State, I came back to Fullerton College for radio classes while continuing my program at Cal State Fullerton. My first semester back at Fullerton College I was in the basic “Broadcast Studio Operations” class and one other class to prepare for the FCC Third Class License with Broadcast Endorsement (required for all radio broadcasters at that time). After we finished the course, our instructors, Don DePuy and Paul Kelly, took a group of us up to Los Angeles to the FCC office to take our exams, and we all passed! I was the first female radio student to pass the FCC exam. For the next four semesters I continued taking the “Radio Workshop” course each semester at Fullerton College – the on-air course on KBPK-FM. That course provided the opportunity to gain the experience I would need to get started with my radio career. Meanwhile, at Cal State Fullerton I continued working toward my B.A. in Communications (Radio & TV), taking between 13 and 18 units each semester while continuing to work part-time at Knott’s Berry Farm (16 hours per week on weekends). I graduated with my BA in Communications in January 1977.
After finishing my BA degree, it took a few months to find my first job in radio. I started working full-time at KONG AM & FM in Visalia, California in May 1977, doing the evening DJ shift six days per week. After a few months there, I really wanted to come back to Orange County, and was fortunate to find a part-time on-air DJ job with KWIZ-FM in Santa Ana in February 1978. This turned into a full-time Music Director job in May 1978, working with a well-respected radio Program Director, Bill Weaver, who was also the General Manager/Program Director for KLOK in San Jose. I learned a great deal from Bill Weaver about the radio business and particularly about radio music programming.
While at KWIZ, my former radio instructors at Fullerton College invited me to come to their classes to talk about my experiences of working in radio – and I was happy to come back to Fullerton to share my experience with the radio students. Then I was asked to teach one evening class in Spring 1980 – and “Intro to Broadcasting” class. I was thrilled to be asked, but somewhat apprehensive because although I knew something about broadcasting, I really didn’t have any background in teaching. Luckily, one of the experienced full-time faculty in the radio program became my mentor and helped me to get through my first semester of teaching by providing some excellent teaching ideas. In Fall 1980 I was fortunate to be selected as a full-time faculty member at Fullerton College (more on this in my story as a faculty member).
To sum up – Fullerton College is my home college. It is part of the community where I grew up, and it provided a valuable educational foundation for the rest of my academic life and my career. I was so fortunate to have so many excellent teachers at Fullerton College – including English teachers Peter Markman, Herb Guthman, Jane Armstrong, Don Reiman and other great teachers outside of my English major: Bea Malkson (Spanish), Gerry Hershey (Psychology), Gerry Padilla (Ethnic Studies), Harold Plett (Biology) and others. In Broadcasting, Don DePuy, Dick Thompson, and Paul Kelly provided everything we needed to make a successful start in a radio broadcasting career.
If I were to give advice to a new student starting at Fullerton College, I’d recommend following these three rules for success in college:
Make the most of yourself at Fullerton College!