1978-80: Central Arizona College gears up for growth around Pinal County

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – A new decade loomed on the not so distant horizon and America was about to change. The economy struggled and disco came to a dramatic end thanks to a radio station’s promotion during a doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers in July of 1979 – the last time Major League Baseball witnessed a forfeit by one of its teams.

But Central Arizona College was blossoming like desert foliage doused by an infrequent rain. The institution was planning expansion and moving toward its now more familiar district model.

In a regular meeting of the governing board on the Aravaipa Campus (Arizona College of Technology) in eastern Pinal County, ACT Executive Dean Dr. J. Williams presented a report noting that enrollment on the campus and five nearby communities – Kearny, Hayden, San Manuel, Oracle and Mammoth - had reached 492.

In a related matter, Dr. Mel A. Everingham reported to the board that $500,000 was available for campus additions at ACT, including a library revision, adding four classrooms, a warehouse, and a multi-purpose activity center for indoor supporting activities. Everingham explained that when ACT was built, the district was forced to cut back on construction to stay within the budget.

Paul Pearce, Eloy resident, who farmed a few miles south of Arizona City, was appointed to the Arizona State Board of Directors for Community Colleges by Governor Wesley Bolin. Pearce was a founder of the Central Arizona College District and the former mayor of the city of Eloy. The vocational technical complex at CAC is named in his honor.

An Apache Junction educator defeated a former Superior High School Board member for a seat on the Pinal County Community College District Governing Board. Roy Hudson, 52, was declared the official winner. Hudson won by a count of 423-244 over Albert Serrano. Hudson was the director of non-instructional services for the Apache Junction Unified School District.

Marilyn Taylor, the public information officer at CAC, was recognized for her outstanding work by the governing board. She left CAC to accept an assignment as a reporter for the Arizona Republic.

Central Arizona College was the site for the third annual Senior Citizens Fair & Bazaar on March 11. The event was co-sponsored by the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens and CAC.

Twenty Pinal County residents involved in public safety and rescue work enrolled in a new Intermediate Emergency Medical Technician (IEMT) program operated by the Pinal County Community College District. The program was coordinated by Sheryl Mauldin, former professor of nursing for the Gila River Career Center in Sacaton. Students enrolled in the program included Michael Barnes, Larry Boland, Robert Doughty, Bob Little, Dennis Prentice and Steve Schroder of Casa Grande; Lowell Taylor of Coolidge; Nickie Paskel of Apache Junction; JoAnn Butler, George Calhoun and Deborah Hinderliter of Gila Bend; Joan Dietzel, George Mahoney and Johanna Teer of Kearny; Joe Luevano of Superior; Shirley Jardwick of Maricopa; and Don Decker of Toltec.

Fifty actors and actresses landed parts in South Pacific – the largest theatrical production in CAC history at that time. The show ran Feb. 23-25 in the Don P. Pence Center.

Woody Herman, one of the greatest names in jazz, entertained guests at CAC during the Pinal County Fine Arts series.

College Credit by Newspaper! The Tri-Valley Dispatch, University of California at San Diego and Central Arizona College joined forces to offer a college course by newspaper. The subject - Popular Culture: Mirror of American Life.

The Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would increase the amount of money allocated to community college districts on a per capita basis.

The sounds of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, Wagner’s Overture to Rienzi, and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 fill the Pence Center on March 31 as the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra brought its special magic to Central Arizona College for one performance.

Bolstered by 11 semifinalists, CAC’s Forensics Team tied for fifth at the district qualifier at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Regina Add of Coolidge, Ray Parshall of Maricopa, Eric Eikenberry of Eloy, and the duo of Parshall and Cheryl Ratz of Arizona City competed in the 18-school tournament held March 3-5.

CACtus editor Ernie Feliz from Florence earned a first-place and second-place award for investigative reporting, leading Central Arizona College’s journalism students to 11 honors in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association competition.

Dr. H. Thomas Hendrickson, Jr., was honored as the first CAC recipient of the Arizona State Community College Board’s Alumni Award. Dr. Hendrickson, 26, was a practicing dentist with offices in San Manuel and Tucson. A 1971 graduate of CAC, Hendrickson moved to Oracle. After graduating from CAC with a liberal arts degree in chemistry, Hendrickson attended the University of Arizona for one year before moving on to the University of Louisville’s dental school where he graduated in 1976.

Edna Ross, coordinator of CAC’s nursing program, indicated that 30 students from across Pinal County graduated from the program. Graduates include Deborah Adams, Cheryl Crook, Kathie Dixon, Becky Dowdle, Amy Fairchild, Joan Morgan, Leslie Paulson, Pam Ross, Rie Schneider and Linda Schucker of Casa Grande; Cheryl Cosgrove, Hazel Howell, Janet LaFreniere, Mary Martin, Bobby McBride and Debbie Moring of Coolidge; Dorothy Contreras, Kathy Fancher and Pat Sloan of Florence; Peter Avelar and Dolores Esquivel of Kearny; Anne Decker of Eloy; Vivian Densen of Stanfield; Carol Floyd of Winkelman; Debbie Lloyd of Valley Farms, Lisa Muñoz of Superior; Winnie Nelson of Oracle; Anton Stoks of Arizona City; and Renee Wahl of Apache Junction.

Kris Sabel, a CAC sophomore from Arizona City, accepted a full scholarship in technical theatre at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. Sabel was the first CAC student to be accepted on a technical theatre scholarship. Former CAC students Peter Feliz and Bill McSwain were awarded acting scholarships.

At the February meeting of the board, Wayne Gerken, vice president of academic and student affairs, announced that the men’s basketball team was the Arizona Community College Champion and would be participating in the sub-regionals, while the women’s basketball team would be participating in regional playoffs. Lin Laursen, the women’s head coach, had reached her 100th victory.

Dr. Mel A. Everingham introduced Harry and Alyce Schmidt to the governing board and thanked the couple for their many contributions to CAC. Harry Schmidt had served as a college professor for several years. The Schmidts donated $1,000 to assist the college in completing of the astronomy laboratory.

CAC freshman Paul Appleby of Cleveland, Ohio, who led the Vaquero basketball team in scoring and helped direct them into the state playoffs, was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s All-Region I first team. Appleby, the only freshman chosen for the all-region squad, scored more points during the Vaqueros 15-12 season than any other freshman in the college's history. His 495 points ranks him third among all individual scorers for one season. The 6-foot, 5-inch forward averaged 18.3 points per game.

Phi Beta Lambda, CAC’s business fraternity, won the Sweepstakes Award at the Seventh Annual State PBL Leadership Conference. CAC’s business club took the Sweepstakes Award, on the strength of eight first-place finishes, 13 second-place honors, and three third-place awards. The team placed in 22 of the conference’s 28 events. The PBL club from CAC was additionally honored when Pat O’Dell was elected state president and Lupe Tapia was elected as the Arizona PBL secretary for 1978-79.

Professor Don O’Dell gave a report to the board on Phi Beta Lambda at the PBL National Conference held in New Orleans. CAC placed second in the nation in parliamentary procedures, and was the only community college to finish in the top 10 in the category. He introduced Stella Ramirez (Garcia), the coach of the winning parliamentary team. O’Dell reported that this is the 10th year in a row that the CAC PBL Chapter has placed among the top five teams in parliamentary procedures.

The CAC Forensics team finished its speech competition for 1977-78 with a 26th-place finish in the 84-school National Forensic Tournament in Sacramento, Calif. Ray Parshall of Maricopa led CAC’s efforts with a gold medal in Persuasion and a silver medal in Oral Interpretation. Kim Taft of Coolidge took home two bronze awards in both Informative and Impromptu. Donna Fleishman of Casa Grande rounded out CAC’s effort with a third-place finish in Informative.

Students from San Manuel High School flexed their mathematical muscles in the first Central Arizona College High School Math Contest placing teams in two of three categories and taking the top two spots in individual competition.

The 1978-79 CAC Cheerleading Squad and their sponsors, Betty Lou Keeton and Stella Ramirez (Garcia), attended the 1978 Western State College University Spirit Workshop in Santa Barbara, Calif. Named to the next year’s cheerleading squad were Ramona Acuna of St. David; Debbie Aguero of Casa Grande; Donna Patton of Grand Canyon; Anna Perez of Phoenix; and Patricia Wright of Coolidge.

Six inmates from the Arizona State Prison received associate degrees during graduation ceremonies at the prison in Florence on June 8.

CAC freshman Barrie Beach of Gilbert was named all-around cowgirl at the 1978 College National Rodeo Finale held in Bozeman, Mont. Beach finished first in goat tying to help the CAC women’s team to a first-place finish. Beach brought home more than $5,000 in scholarship funds for the college. The scholarships were donated by the U.S. Tobacco Co. Pam Merrimam of Tucson finished third nationally in goat tying. CAC’s other participant was Holly Van Winkle of Tucson.

A CAC student accepted a two-year scholarship from Sterling College in Sterling, Kan. Donna Fleishman of Casa Grande will participate in the university’s drama, forensics and choir programs. Already named costume director, Fleishman said she will carry two majors academically—one in drama/speech and the other in vocal music.

The North Central Association, a 19-state accrediting institution for colleges and universities, re-accredited the Pinal County Community College District for seven years.

Prompted by the community college needs of Apache Junction and Superior residents, CAC begins an innovative program for residents of those two communities. Courses will be taught in both communities giving residents a chance to complete an associate degree program without traveling out of the county, to the Signal Peak Campus, or to the Arizona College of Technology.

Count Bassie appeared at Central Arizona College for one performance on Sept. 21.

Nine residents of three Pinal County communities landed roles in CAC’s October production of Noel Coward’s play Hay Fever. Those landing parts included Jackie Palmenberg, Bruce Russell, Delbert Brewer, LaRu McCulloch, Joe Fleishman and Valerie Eldridge of Casa Grande; Mary Johnson and Mark Schrooten of Apache Junction; and Erica Wagner of Coolidge. Winston Hoffman directed and Eric Stevens of Lake in the Desert served as stage manager.

Don O’Dell, business education department chairman for CAC, was selected as the new president of the Arizona Education Association’s Higher Education Department. O’Dell also was named new president of the AEA’s Arizona College and University Faculty Association.

Julie Bond, CAC professor of office administration and advisor to the college’s Phi Beta Lambda business club, passed a test of Robert’s Rules of Order and became a registered parliamentarian.

Glen Tiller, assistant director of CAC’s library, was elected secretary-treasurer of the Arizona State Library Association/College and University Division.

Dr. Dale Gibson presented to the governing board a Needs Assessment Survey for the Apache Junction area, which included a recommendation to purchase land for an eventual campus.

Major League organizations selected nine CAC freshmen in the 1978 Major League Baseball winter draft. Dan Woodward, a right-handed pitcher from Central Point, Ore., led the Vaqueros. He was chosen by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round. Other members of Ken Richardson’s team picked in the draft included  Dan Keck, Klamath Falls, Ore., outfielder/second round, Baltimore Orioles; Mark Knowles, left-handed pitcher, Lewiston, Idaho, second round, Texas Rangers; Doug Jones, Tucson right-handed pitcher, third round, Milwaukee Brewers; and Larry May, Grants Pass, Ore., right-handed pitcher, fourth round, Milwaukee Brewers. Eight of CAC’s players were drafted during the previous winter selection with Calvin Adams being the overall number one pick.

Ernie Feliz, from Florence, was named local editor of the Florence Reminder & Blade Tribune. Feliz previously served as a vacation relief editor for the Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. Born in Florence, Feliz earned an associate of arts degree in journalism at Central Arizona College in 1978. 

The Governing Board approved Dr. Mel A. Everingham recommendations to develop a college with the name Central Arizona College with multiple campuses, changing location names from CAC to Signal Peak Campus, and Arizona College of Technology to Aravaipa Campus.

The board also accepted the resignation of charter employee Homer Koliba and approved the promotion of Dennis Jenkins from comptroller to dean of business services.

Jim Hunter was elected president, Dave Ridinger was chosen as secretary, Roy Hudson was sworn into office, and Manuel Ruiz was given a plaque of appreciation as he left office during the PCCCD Governing Board meeting in January.

A 1972 graduate of Central Arizona College was named the 1979 recipient of the district’s Outstanding Graduate Award. Dr. Raymond Corona, an optometrist in private practice in Casa Grande, was recognized at the March 17 Arizona Community College Governing Board Meeting. After graduating from CAC with an associate’s degree, Corona attended The Ohio State University and Arizona State University, and received a bachelor’s of science degree in biology from ASU. He graduated cum laude. In 1973, Corona attended the Southern California College of Optometry - graduating in 1977.

The wife of a prominent Casa Grande area farmer outpolled a Casa Grande social worker by a nearly five-to-one margin to win a seat on the Central Arizona College Governing Board. Mildred “Mickey” Carlton, wife of Keith Carlton and a woman with six years of experience on Casa Grande Elementary School Board, outdistanced Andy Garza, an employee of the Behavioral Health Agency of Central Arizona (BHACA) and a CAC graduate.

Erica Wagner, a Coolidge sophomore in Central Arizona College’s drama department, and Bill Robinson, a former CAC drama student, have landed major roles in the fall semester production of Bus Stop.

CAC sophomore Gloria Amado, a 32-year-old wife and mother from Casa Grande, was selected Arizona Student Nurse of the Year by the Arizona Student Nurses Association.

Six new full-time faculty members were hired for the semester. George Fridell was named criminal justice planner for Region 5. He is presently teaching for the criminal justice degree program in the policy academy. Gary Heintz was hired as the men’s basketball coach, while Mike Candrea was hired for a full-time job in the physical education department. (Candrea would eventually become the head coach of Team USA Softball). Barry Woodward was named counselor-director of student activities; Leslie Alexander was named professor of bilingual education; and Yolanda Anderson was assigned to teach English as a second language.

A business proprietor from Eloy was named to fill former governing board member Maria Chavez’s post. Leo Delgado who owned a clothing store in Eloy, was appointed to the position by Pinal County superintendent of schools.

The college celebrated the defeat of Proposition 106. The proposal could have cut CAC’s programs down to a minimum and raised tuition drastically, limiting the number of students. The proposition was defeated in November.

Stephen M. Smith, a 1975 graduate of the Aravaipa Campus, was named the 1980 recipient of the Arizona Community College Governing Board’s award as Outstanding Past Graduate for CAC. A mill project consultant in Silverton, Colo., Smith received an associate degree in science, liberal studies from the Arizona College of Technology (changed to the Aravaipa Campus on 1979)


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