Fullerton College Centennial


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In one of my favorite books and movies, THE LAST HURRAH, the fictional but based on real life early 20th century Mayor of Boston, on his death bed, says to one of his long time cronies “How do you thank a guy for a million laughs?” How do I thank Fullerton College, 100 years old in 2013 for its millions of personalities and memories – OK, minus a few hundred thousand?

My 35 of Fullerton College’s first 100 years had its origin in 1966 when Dean of Instruction GENE MCKIBBIN and I were classmates in a USC PHD course. He liked me, thought I would make a good Social Science Division professor, and got me hired in 1967. No affirmative action, no hiring committee….That’s the way it was done — a long time ago. It was only a one year replacement, but enrollment boomed and I stepped into a tenure track full time position in 1968. Thanks, Gene.

In somewhat similar fashion, so did my long time friend BARRY WISHART begin his 15 years of Social Science teaching and 10 years of District Board of Trustees membership. We remember several years of office hours in the RENO HOUSE, formerly occupied by that family , on the corner of Lemon and Berkeley Avenues. There was no office space on the campus for these two new Social Science Division members, and a few other faculty. No AC for the September-October heat, poor heating for the November–April chill, but we loved our house. My two year old son Mark slid down the house cellar door, and his Mom picked splinters out of his rear end for two weeks. Thanks Barry for those years of friendship, including the hundreds of miles of running over the hills and dales of Fullerton and Yorba Linda. And for your co-authorship with me on several Political Science and Sociology books adopted for many community college and university courses.

A very special memory is of son Martin’s year of Hornet football under head coach GENE MURPHY in 2005— at 44 years old! “The oldest Hornet football player” Along with all kinds of aches, pains and humorous stories, Marty was awarded the “Hornet Pride” trophy at the end of the season.

A short sampling of division and department colleagues includes, LYNN NEGUS, NANCY BJORKLUND, PETER WAN, JOE REILLY, LOIS NETTLESHIP, EMILY TEIPI, JOHN WALKER, JOE REILLY, DAN CONFORTI, DAVE IBSEN, RICK SALAS, JODY BALMA, CARL SCHWARZ… LYNN NEGUS, mid-eastern history scholar and World History professor, was one of my son, Matt’s, favorite teachers. Likewise, ROGER SEE in American History and JOHN ORR in English Literature, which they taught Matt in the 1996 Semester Overseas in Cambridge. Thanks JOHN WALKER for your long time Semester Overseas leadership.

But the main thank you goes to those approximately 14,000 students of mine. I keep meeting many of them, in restaurants, stores, shops… Of course I don’t remember most of their names. Often they don’t remember mine. But we remember where, how and when we met — during FULLERTON COLLEGE’S FIRST 100 YEARS.