Emeriti Newsletter
Los Angeles City College
Dr. Mary Spangler, Los Angeles City College's 12th
President, 1997-2003, passed away in Charlotte, NC on
Saturday June 14, 2014 after an extended illness.
As a vital leader in education, Mary touched the
lives of countless students, college professionals, and
those in educational communities nationally and
internationally in a vibrant career that spanned a
period of more than 4 decades. In all of her roles as an
educator—including English faculty, book co-author,
college dean, vice-president, president, and college
chancellor—Mary overwhelmingly demonstrated her
bold commitment to the mission of community college
Mary taught English for the first half of her career
at Los Angeles Valley College. After 25 years of
teaching and co-authoring textbooks on English writing
and grammar, Mary spent the second half of her
career in administration. Always the teacher, even as
she moved on in her profession, Mary could be found
leading a Book Program discussion group with
students, faculty and staff. At Los Angeles City College
Mary held positions of Vice-President of Academic
Affairs and College President. In 2003, Mary left LACCD
to become Chancellor of Oakland Community College
in Michigan and from there became the Chancellor of
Houston Community College.
In her varying administrative roles, Mary was known
for forging strong relationships with college and local
community stakeholders. During her tenure at LACC,
Mary greatly expanded the role of the college’s
foundation, and was at the forefront of the several
bond drives for the college’s first capital campaign in
decades. With the goal of growing strong community
college faculty and administrative leaders, Mary cocreated several successful district-wide and campus
series of workshops and trainings for future leaders.
In her inaugural speech as LACC’s college president,
Mary stated in part, “I am committed to pursuing the
dream and acting boldly to achieve it.” We thank Dr.
Mary Spangler for her many years of devoted service
to community colleges as an inspirational educator
and leader.
-- Patricia Schmolze
Fall 2014
The Life Sciences Department at Los
Angeles City College has one of the highest student
enrollment numbers at LACC, often exceeding 100%
capacity. Our course offers range from General Biology
to Microbiology and Physiology. Most of our students
are applying to the Registered Nursing Program or are
transferring to a four-year university and some are
applying to graduate programs. Overall, our student
success and student transfer rates are above 75%,
significantly higher than the school’s average. We are
proud of the caliber of our students and of our faculty.
Examples of our student achievements include:
a. Juan Morales, a former student, who is
now getting his PH D.
b. Kimberly Brown, another former student,
went to USC medical School and is
now a practicing M.D.
c. Reni Dong, a former student, will be
graduating from Berkeley this year.
Our faculty works extremely hard to help LACC
students achieve their goals.
Professor Sean
Phommasaysy serves not only as the Chair of the
Department, but he is also the Bridge to the Future
Coordinator and the Biology Club advisor, which he
helped to co-found. As the Bridge coordinator, he has
helped many minority students at LACC get paid
internships and most of these students are now
pursuing graduate degrees. Since its inception, the
Biology Club has been one of the most active clubs at
LACC. For the past 5+ years, the club helped cosponsor the Earth Day Celebration held every April.
This annual event brings a diverse group of students
together to promote environmental awareness. In
addition, every semester the Biology Club sponsors
two or more blood drives and their efforts were
honored with a plaque by the Red Cross in 2013.
Sean Phommasaysy
in a NASA funded program with the California Space
Grant Consortium to offer 32 LACC students, over the
next 2 years, the opportunity to engage in space
related electronic hardware development projects
and visit NASA research centers.
The department has worked closely with other
science, technology, and math departments to
implement the STEM Academy which is a
comprehensive program to support science, math,
and engineering students that is funded by a grant
from JPMorgan Chase & Co. obtained through the
LACC Foundation. The STEM Academy offers a
tutoring space that is open from 10am to 6pm MonThurs, academic skills workshops, academic
counseling, and connects students to internship and
research experience opportunities with external
organizations. The STEM Academy also offers
supervised access to the high tech Engineering
Fabrication Lab in the Sciences building to allow
students to pursue their own projects either
independently or as a team.
The department is home to a number of active
student clubs including the LACC Astronomy Club,
LACC Physics Club, and the Electronics Club. The
Astronomy Club hosts a number of well attended
events such as a tour of Mt. Wilson Observatory and
star parties. The Physics Club has just completed a
wind tunnel which they intend to use to design and
construct rockets and the Electronics Club has made
excellent progress on making a large, six wheeled
The department is very proud of the achievements
of its students and has worked hard to provide high
quality classes and extracurricular enrichment
opportunities to make our students competitive in
transferring and entering the workforce. We are
appreciative of working in a dynamic campus and the
support and encouragement we have received from
the campus, including its emeriti, to maintain and
develop programs that are allowing our students to
literally reach for the stars.
Like most physics students around the world, when I
was an undergraduate I was recommended to read
Feynman Lectures in Physics by Richard P. Feynman,
Robert B. Leighton, and Mathew Sands. The widely
revered text is a three volume collection of the lectures
given by the Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman at the
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) during the
1960’s. After working at LACC for several years, I was
very delighted to hear that Robert. B Leighton, one of
the main authors of Feynman Lectures in Physics, was
an alumnus of LACC in the late 1930’s. He was accepted
as a junior at California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
in 1939 but chose to live at home and worked on X-ray
equipment to support himself and his mother. After
getting his degree, Robert Leighton remained at Caltech
where he became one of the world’s greatest
astrophysicists. Hence, LACC can claim a strong track
record in educating physicists and engineers and to this
day, the dedicated faculty in the Physics and
Engineering department continues to strive to offer
tremendous opportunities for students to explore their
passion for physics and engineering and reach their
potential. The department offers courses in Astronomy,
Physics, and Engineering encompassing a range of
levels. The department implements a number of grant
funded programs aimed at student success and
enrichment and is home to a number of active student
clubs in Physics, Astronomy, and Electronics. The
department also supports its students through offering
around $12,000 of scholarships to them every year
from generous endowments made to the Physics and
Engineering department through the LACC Foundation.
The LACC Physics and Engineering department
continues to have a strong relationship with Caltech
and the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) through running the
National Science Foundation funded “Consortium for
Undergraduate Research Experiences” (CURE) program.
Every year, two to three students are selected from
each participating campus in the district to engage in
research internships at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)
including full-time, paid work in the summer. Student
projects have included construction of instrumentation
exploration robots, and tracking of asteroids. CURE
students are assigned a mentor from their college and
work under a scientist at CalTech or JPL. In January
2015, the department will also begin its participation
Jayesh Bhakta
The featured presentation at the Fall meeting
will be by students from the STEM Academy.
Diego Santillian will be presenting the "Earth
Rover"; a six wheeled robot constructed by the
LACC Electronics Club.
Friday, November 7, 2014
10:00 AM
Multi Purpose Room
3rd Floor, Student Union
Come in the morning for coffee and conversation. The program will feature
the students and their projects from the STEM program. President Renee
Martinez and Robert Schwartz, Foundation Executive Director will join us. End the
morning with a delicious lunch and time to reconnect with friends and colleagues.
Parking is available in Lot 4, the parking structure,
on Heliotrope at the corner of Monroe St.
Please mail your reservation on the form below.
Name _____________________________________________ E-Mail Address
Telephone ______________________
Home Address
(only if different from label)
Reservations for November 7 luncheon at $15 each
No. _____
If you haven’t already paid your 2014-15 dues of $10,
it is not too late to do so now.
OPTION: New Membership Category: Life Membership for those retired
1995 and after is $100; Life Membership for those retired before 1995 is $60.
$ __________
$ __________
$ __________
Donation to support: Learning Community Faculty Award,
Emeriti Excellence (Valedictorian) Honorarium, endow Emeriti Scholarship
$ __________
$ __________
Be sure to notify us of any address or email change so you will continue to receive a Newsletter.
Mail your check, payable to LACC Foundation, with a notation “Emeriti,”
to Roberta Holt 5103 Showboat Lane, Culver City, CA 90230-7529, to be received not later than Nov. 1.
Questions? Call Roberta Holt at (310) 839-3917 or email her at [email protected]
Last year, the inauguration of President Renee
Martinez was the impetus for the creation of President’s
Scholars. And you, emeriti, came through with generous
donations to help establish the program.
The highest honor that incoming high school graduates
can earn upon entering Los Angeles City College is the
designation ‘President's Scholar’. The President’s Scholar
award provides outstanding graduating high school
students who commit to attend LACC for two years with
full support for tuition, books and supplies in order to
graduate and/or transfer to a four-year college or
university. In addition to the scholarship, each President's
Scholar receives a computer tablet, campus orientation,
free parking, free admission to cultural events,
membership in the Ralph Bunche Honors program and an
invitation to an annual reception with the college
president. Applicants interested in becoming a President’s
Scholar undergo a rigorous selection process from a
highly-qualified pool of applicants. All applicants for the
President's Scholar award are entering freshman with a
minimum grade point average of 3.75. Applicants must
also achieve successful college assessment for Math 125
and English 101 at LACC.
Ruben Espejel
Chemistry at LACC has been very active in two major
areas, besides continuing to give a comprehensive
chemistry program that meets the needs of the wide
range of student interests at LACC. The Chemistry Club
thrives with very active student and faculty participation.
Chemistry is strongly involved in programs for the STEM
The Chemistry Club, a student chapter of the American
Chemical Society (ACS), received an honorable mention
award from the ACS for the 2012/2013 academic year.
Among its many activities were participation in Earth Day
at LACC as well as Mole Day (October 23) chemistry
demos (not the animal, but a big number), several “Kids
and Chemistry” presentations at local elementary schools,
participation in Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA in Ventura
and receiving a first place in titration (an important
laboratory technique) in the Chemistry Bowl at Pasadena
City College. The year’s activities culminated with several
students attending the ACS National Meeting in San
Francisco in August, including a visit to UC Berkeley.
Chemistry’s involvement in STEM follows two tracks: a
chemistry synthesis research project for students
motivated to go more deeply into chemistry studies,
directed by Glen Baghdasarian and Marcos Alvarez, and
two projects of more general interest, a Chemistry Club
project directed by Terry Boan to increase student
participation by making the club more accessible to a
larger number of students, and an email project directed
by Kim Dinh that will give students ready access to
information about chemistry opportunities, including
With the enthusiastic support from all of you for the
President's Scholars, the Emeriti Board voted to endow a
scholarship of our own. It will provide support for a fulltime continuing student who has completed 24 degree
applicable units with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and is
pursuing an educational plan to a declared major. $2,500
from the Emeriti Association budget will be used to
initiate it. The Foundation will match the money raised
up to $5,000. With that support, the Emeriti Association
will just need to raise an additional $2,500 to fully endow
the scholarship. Use the tear off on page 3 to make your
What are you up to? What new things are you
learning, seeing or doing? We’d like to hear from you and
share your news with your colleagues in our newsletter.
Please keep in touch and let me know by emailing me at
[email protected] See you on Nov. 7, Leanna
Dennis Mitchell
Leanna Watts
[email protected]
V.P. Finance
Martha Sklar
[email protected]
V.P. Programs
Raoul De la Sota
[email protected]
V.P. Communications Myra Siegel
[email protected]
Charlene Carnachan [email protected]
Web Master
Renato Colantoni
[email protected]slextreme.com
Merrill Eastcott
[email protected]
Ann Gallagher
[email protected]
Dennis Mitchell
[email protected]
Maria Reisch
[email protected]
Laura Schoor
[email protected]
Andrea Smith
[email protected]
President Emeritus Roberta Holt
[email protected]
In Memoriam
Elizabeth Crowe
Rosella Kanarik
Anatol Mazor
You gave your students the gift of learning