SRJC faculty honored at awards ceremony

Kris Abrahamson speaking about Laura Downing-Lee receiving an award.

Domanique Crawford , Staff Writer

Fourteen faculty member received awards May 1 in the Bertolini student activities center.

“This is one of the best days of the year, the day we come together to honor the outstanding work of several of our amazing faculty and colleagues,” said Robin Fautley, academic senate president, in her welcome speech.

Mary K Rudolph presented Karen Clark, an instructor for SRJC’s associates degree nursing program, with the Tenure Recipient Award. Clark has been with SRJC since 2010.

Raquel Montoya Dane, an SRJC English instructor, received an outstanding contribution award, but was not there to get it. Dane was instrumental with Fall 2013 Work of Literary Merit Lectures for The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

“I really wish that Raquel was here because she is one of those people who does so many things behind the scene and doesn’t look for any type of recognition at all and I know she would have liked to be here,” Insull said.

Rafael Vázquez, an SRJC Humanities instructor, also received an outstanding contribution award.

“A highly motivated educator, Rafael’s passion for the contents of his course instruction is only eclipsed by his student’s success,” said Mike Garcia, public relations faculty member.

Merilark Padgett received the professional achievement award. Padgett, also known as the wine queen, is the viticulture program coordinator and instructor for eight years.

“I am deeply honored and very appreciative of all the support I have gotten from everyone since I was here. I am so privileged to work with all my highly esteemed colleagues,” Padgett said.

Katherine Caddes, an SRJC health department faculty member of 20 years, received the Curriculum Development Award and will be retiring soon.

“Katherine has been a dear  colleague and mentor to all of us in nursing and has personally mentored me and many of my colleagues in curriculum and we are very appreciative of her efforts and honored to have her as part of our team,” said Anne Valdez, ADN program director.

Jeanette Ben Farhat, SRJC instructor of political science since 1990, received the Innovative Use of Technology in Education Award.

Laura Downing-Lee received the Publicatons/Fine Arts/Performing Arts Award. Dowing-Lee is an SRJC artistic director and theatre art department chair since 1999.

“I have the privilege of work with amazing colleagues who love what they do. We get to bring to life literature and music. We get to make people laugh, cry, think and all while teaching students that are passionate about learning,” Downing – Lee said.

Downing-Lee has directed plays such as “Spamalot,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Few Good Men,” “Les Miserable” and the “Laramie Project.”

“Laura has made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts at Santa Rosa Junior College for students, for the college community and for our community at large,” said Kris Abrahamson, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Bev Henningsen, SRJC work experience faculty member, received the Unsung Heroine award and has been a part of SRJC for 30 years. Henningsen said she is really honored to be of service to SRJC students, colleagues and to the community.

“She is passionate and intentional about continuously improving work experience courses to better engage students and support success and to our work experience team she is our rock and our role model,” said Eve Nighswonger, manager of school initiatives and career pathways development.

Roy Gattinella, an SRJC Business Administration faculty member since 2001, received an award for the Sabbatical Project.

“Roy completed a sabbatical project designed to bring the latest innovative technique tools, and trends in business to his departments own academic programs,” said Alison Hinnenberg, the chair of the sabbatical committee. “An explicit research project guided his design of the new SRJC entrepreneurship program providing significant new work skills required millennial graduates and budding entrepreneurs.”

Lenny Wagner, head football coach and interim athletic director, and Dean Gooch, SRJC Math professor, received the NISOD Excellence Award.

P.J. LoCoco, the program coordinator and instructor of the environmental horticulture program and has taught horticulture at SRJC since 1982, received the Faculty Award.

Melissa Sue Kort, an SRJC instructor for the English department for 30 years, received the Academic Senate President’s Award.

Anne O’Donnell, coordinator of the Dietetic Technology Program and a full-time SRJC faculty member since 1989, also received the Academic Senate President’s Award.

Karen Stanley, kinesiology instructor will give the 2015 Tauzer Lecturer.

“The Brook Tauzer Faculty lecture is the highlight of PDA Day each spring and an honor for the faculty member selected to give it,” said Peggy Goebel, Health Services faculty member .


Correction: Our sincerest apologies to Laura Aspinall, disability specialist of the disability resources department, who received the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Award alongside her colleagues May 1.