Retirees venerated, adorned

Annual retirement ceremony highlights 5 of 9 departing faculty


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Automotive services professor Peter Lock (left) and others in attendance raise their glasses to salute Lock’s time spent at the college during the annual Retirement Reception and Staff Reunion hosted in the Library and Learning Resources Center on May 6.

By Chrsitian Urrutia, Editor-in-Chief

Every year the Contra Costa College community says goodbye to its departing family members by holding a reception and staff reunion to remind them of how appreciated they were.

The annual Retirement Reception and Staff Reunion held in the Library on May 6, allowed folks on campus to say farewell to nursing administrative secretary Diana Hall, technical stage manager John “J.R.” Morocco, custodian Jeryl Landers, automotive services professor Peter Lock, physical education professor Rudy Zeller, biological sciences professor Debra Barnes, international education coordinator Sui-Fen Liao, senior administrative secretary Yolanda Mendoza and mathematics professor Hugh Walters.

Retirees who were unable to attend the ceremony were Mendoza, Barnes, Liao and Walters.

College President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh began the reception by saying, “We have nine incredible, dedicated employees of CCC who are retiring here at the end of the semester. We also have former retirees who have returned here today to say goodbye and hello to so many of you.”

She said, “We look forward to learning about our retirees here this afternoon. We have five of you joining us this afternoon and each of you have selected an individual to share a little bit about you as part of this retirement (get together).”

Nursing department Chairperson Cheri Etheredge introduced Hall and said, “Imagine sitting at your desk and a student asks for directions to their class, another student asks about prerequisites for the nursing program.

“Another student asks if he filled out all the required paperwork so he can start his clinical rotation. A faculty member asks if a piece of equipment was ordered for the skills lab and the phone is ringing.

“That is the job of the administrative nursing assistant in the department and that is what Diana Hall has been doing for the last 16 years,” she said.

Etheredge also said a student response said Hall is calming in an intense program, when she surveyed students and faculty. One faculty response said, “Diana totally focuses on students. When she is helping a student, nothing else matters.”

After Etheredge’s introduction, Hall said, “CCC is a terrific campus to work at. I love the students and my faculty and I never discouraged them from contacting me if they needed to.

“Although I won’t be too far away, I’d imagine I’ll be available for classes and bugging everybody at their stations, so thank you all,” she said.

Counseling assistant MaryKate Rossi introduced Morocco.

“For the past 35 years we’ve been truly blessed. With JR being the behind the scenes guy that he is, we don’t always see all the amazing things he does for our drama department and our performing arts center,” she said.

She said after a quick stint at American River College, Morocco had a big hand in designing and setting up components in the Knox Center.

Morocco said, “Usually I’m the guy behind the curtains in the back not in front of the stage. But I enjoyed (guiding) people within the Knox Center with the complications of doing a play or production. I spent the last 40 years in the California (college) system, building, fabricating, designing and inventing things for theater departments and now I’d like to do that for myself for awhile.”

Custodial Services Manager Darlene Poe said during her introduction of Landers, that whenever she needed to brighten her mood, she would go and find him to make her smile.

“But Jeryl, on behalf of custodial services at CCC, I wish you luck with your retirement,” Poe said.