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I was born in England, and when people ask what brought me to the United States and California, I reply “your bicentennial.” I get some quizzical looks but its partly true. In the late 60’s, close friends of my parents emigrated to California from the small fishing town on the east coast of England. My parents continued to correspond by mail (this was before the days of email, and cheap international calling), and heard all about the wonders of Southern California. As a family we decided to forgo our usual summer holidays for a couple of years, and save up for a trip to LA, coincidently in the spring of 1976 during the country’s bicentennial. From the moment we arrived, we were totally in love with the California way of the life - the weather, the opportunities, the people, and upon returning after three weeks to England, the family decided to begin the process to emigrate to the US.
By the summer of 1978 we were here, living in Chino. I had concluded a high school education in England, but sat out of school for a year in CA in order to qualify for in-state tuition. I enrolled at CSU Fullerton in the fall of 1979 and had completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mathematics by the spring of 1985. My goal was to secure a position in the aerospace industry. As this time, large corporations such as Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton were hiring mathematics majors into well-paying jobs, but during my graduate work I had the opportunity to begin teaching and found it very rewarding. Upon graduating in 1985, I spent one year as a “freeway flyer”, and then was lucky enough to get a fulltime position at Fullerton College. This came about because CSUF had gone into a partnership agreement with the college whereby we offered all of the remedial math classes to CSUF students. I was one of two faculty hired specifically for that program, but at the same time I taught additional classes on the FC campus, and in 1987 was hired fulltime by the college.
Over the past twenty five years, I have worked as both a faculty member and now in administration. During my tenure as faculty, I taught almost all classes in our curriculum, served on the Senate, as Curriculum Chair, and Staff Development Coordinator. I especially enjoyed teaching in the non-STEM areas (such as Liberal Arts Mathematics and Business Calculus), showing non-majors the beauty, power and relevance of mathematics to everyday life. I began my administrative career as intern in Academic Services, Interim Dean in Technology and Engineering, and finally Dean of Mathematics and Computer Science.
This year I celebrate my 25th year at Fullerton. As I look back, I fondly recall faculty who served as my mentors. Dave Bell, Nixson Borah, Jeanne Germond, the list goes on. All gave me the benefit of their years of service to the college and helped shape my career. I recall the highs and lows of the past 25 years, from the 85th anniversary of the college’s founding- the day we closed Chapman Avenue and held a celebratory parade, to the days after 9/11 when the college came together in support of the nation.
What I remember most, and am most proud of as we approach the centennial, are the faculty and staff. Individuals committed to making Fullerton College one of the premier community colleges in the nation. I am proud to be part of the Fullerton College family, and look forward to help move the college into its second century of excellence.