Retirees to unite, celebrate ‘familial accomplishments’

Community members to honor long-time faculty, administrators

By Michael Santone, Associate Editor

In honor of the nine Contra Costa College faculty and staff retiring after a long and illustrious career, a celebration will be held on May 12 at 3 p.m. in the Fireside Hall.

“It’s humbling to see how folks have dedicated their lives to Contra Costa College,” Senior Executive Assistant to the President Michael Peterson said.

The ceremony, which will run approximately two hours, will commemorate the lengthy careers of math professor Emmanuel Baptiste, health education professor  Sandra Everhart, computer and communication technology professor Ricky Figuera, Senior Dean of Instruction Donna Floyd, Library, Allied Health, Vocational Education, and Athletics Division Dean Susan Lee, custodian Guadalupe Mora, computer sciences professor Thomas Murphy, English professor Heather Roth and fine and media arts department Chairperson Ellen Seidler.

Peterson, who is organizing the event, said many of the retirees have given decades of services at CCC. “We would not be where we are today without their dedication,” he said.

The ceremony is also organized with the help of Library department Chairperson Andrew Kuo and Professional Development Assistant Chanel Barton. The ceremony itself is informal with an introduction and remarks from those retiring and a gift presentation.

Entertainment by Jazz-ology will accompany the afternoon with some of their vocal arrangements, as well as an undecided menu provided by the culinary department.

Peterson said at previous ceremonies a former faculty member would play the harp, but this year they wanted to showcase the talent of CCC’s current student body.

“(Music department Chairperson)Stephanie Austin graciously agreed to ask her students and they enthusiastically accepted,” he said.

A small introduction will be given about each of those retiring, which will open the event.

President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh will present the retirees with a gift of appreciation.

“It’s a celebration of all that they have given to the college and the community,” she said.

Each retiree picked the person they wished to introduce them with a brief summary that highlight their familial accomplishments and achievements throughout their time at CCC.

Peterson said that working at CCC is like being in a huge family and letting go can be hard.

“We want to make it easier by formally recognizing the many years of dedicated service with a nice event to mark a new chapter in their lives,” he said.

“It’s vital to recognize and thank our retirees for all they have done,”  Mehdizadeh said.

Mehdizadeh said that it’s the faculty and staff who genuinely care about the success of each and every student, which makes the college excellent.

Attendees will also include past retirees who were invited via invitation.

Peterson said that this event is a great way to learn about the college with old faculty and staff who come to celebrate future retirees.

Figuera said it feels good to finally be retiring. “I have exhausted the subject matter,” he said. 

Figuera said he is happy that all of those retiring are being honored. Figuera, who has been with CCC since 1985, has become a staple on campus. His department has worked alongside other faculty and staff when it came to many technical issues on campus.

“It’s like a final. Like the end of the whole journey here at CCC,” Figuera said.

He said he is ready to have a good time.

Peterson said the ceremony is also a sign of rebirth because it opens up spots for new “blood” into the college.