Thirteen East Valley community members will be welcomed into Mesa Community College’s Hall of Fame during a reception and ceremony hosted by the MCC Alumni Association tomorrow, Nov. 3, in the MCC Theatre at the Southern and Dobson campus, 1833 W. Southern Ave. in Mesa.
The MCC Hall of Fame honors alumni, community members, and MCC employees whose personal and professional accomplishments, and positive contributions to the college and community set them apart.
Mesa Mayor John Giles is one of the 13 honorees.
“I am honored to be inducted into the Mesa Community College Hall of Fame,” Giles said. “MCC is a great partner for the city of Mesa and we are proud of their commitment to education and their enthusiasm for innovation.”
The program begins at 7 p.m., preceded by a with a reception before the program at 6 p.m. in the MCC Theatre lobby. The event is free and open to the public – RSVP Requested.
The 2016 Honorees, by category, are:
Alumni Achievement Award – Bland Burchett, Timothy Dorn, John Giles and Emmet Ronan
Outstanding Athlete Award – Peter Fennell, Ken Phelps and Derek Price
Outstanding Coach Award – Selmer Olson and Penny Powell
Excellence in Teaching Award – Karen Hardin, Ed.D. and Shereen Lerner, Ph.D.
Outstanding Staff Award – Matthew Ashcraft and Sonia Filan
Alumni Achievement Award recipients
Bland Burchett, a member of MCC’s 1975 NJCAA National Championship football team, is an engineer with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. His 33 years in weapons development and testing has garnered the attention and appreciation of senior military leaders and led to numerous leadership awards. Bland currently leads a group that supports more than 36 combat readiness training ranges in the U.S. and around the world – a la Top Gun.
Timothy Dorn, the chief of police for the town of Gilbert, earned his Associate in Administration of Justice degree at MCC. In addition to his 40-year career in law enforcement he has 36 years of military service as a senior level Army National Guard officer, and was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His dozens of civilian and military awards and decorations include a Bronze Star Medal and Legion of Merit.
John Giles, mayor of the city of Mesa and owner and attorney at Giles and Dickson, P.C., attended MCC from 1981-82. His service on more than 20 boards and committees in Mesa and the surrounding community ranges from member to chairperson. Giles was honored as Mesa Man of the Year in 2013 and his NextMesa vision led Money.com, a subsidiary of “Time Magazine,” to name Mesa the Best Big City in the Southwest.
Emmet Ronan attended MCC from 1967-69. After a successful career as an attorney with the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office and partnership in the law firm of Henze, Ronan and Clark, he was appointed as a judge for the Maricopa County Superior Court. He served on two Governor’s Task Forces and was chairperson for the Arizona Supreme Court Committee on the Impact of Domestic Violence and the Courts.
Outstanding Athletes Award recipients
Peter Fennell, a National Junior College All American in Tennis, was the Arizona Community College Tennis Champion in both singles and doubles in 1968 and 1969. He lost only one singles match in conference play during his two years at MCC, and was undefeated in conference doubles with partner Chris Evenson. Fennell, a member of Men’s Honorary Scholastic Society, graduated in 1969.
Ken Phelps played baseball for MCC in 1974. He was named a junior college All American and was a two time first round draft pick while attending MCC. His 11-year career in Major League Baseball as a designated hitter and first baseman began in 1980. Career highlights include a World Series Championship in 1989 with the Oakland A’s and the American League record for the fastest to reach 100 home runs.
Derek Price was the MCC Football Most Valuable Player in 1992. Honored as the All-American Junior College Grid Wire Tight End and Western Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Price went on to play professionally for the Detroit Lions. After a career-ending neck injury, Price completed a chiropractic degree. He now owns multidisciplinary medical offices along with CrossFit Gyms and a consulting practice.
Outstanding Coaches Award recipients
Selmer Olson, a coach and faculty member at MCC for more than 35 years, has coached dozens of national champions and Olympians. His record boasts the coaching of approximately 100 All-American National Champions and national meet and record holders, as well as seven NJCAA National Championships in Track and Field and Football.
Penny Powell coached Women’s Tennis at MCC from 1975-2007, leading the Thunderbirds to more than a dozen ACCAC and Region 1 Championships. Her teams had 15 NJCAA top 10 finishes. Powell was inducted into the NJCAA Women’s Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004.
Excellence in Teaching Award recipients
Karen Hardin, Ed.D., received Faculty Emeritus distinction to honor her 31-year career developing students at Mesa Community College. As MCC’s Counseling Department chairperson, she created programs to recruit and retain under-served students, such as the STEP Program that received national and international exposure. She was one of the first faculty to teach service learning courses at MCC. Hardin was the adviser of MCC’s NAACP Club for 28 years. She is also a YWCA Tribute to Women Honoree.
Shereen Lerner, Ph.D., teaches anthropology at MCC and also currently serves as MCC’s Honors Program director. An award-winning teacher with 35 years of field and research experience in Southwestern survey and excavation, she is a published author and presenter for professional organizations such as the Society for American Archaeology. Lerner has led grant projects from prestigious funding agencies and has performed countless hours of professional and community service.
Outstanding Staff Award recipients
Matthew Ashcraft is the dean of Institutional Analysis and Planning at MCC. He led the processes which resulted in MCC’s 10-year re-accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission as well as approval to offer degrees online. He is the recipient of the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.
Sonia Filan, whose career spans public relations assistant to executive leader, is the director of Institutional Advancement and Entrepreneurial Programs at MCC. Under her leadership Mesa Community College has won countless national and regional awards for marketing, communications, and public relations. She has been honored with the Maricopa Community College’s Women’s Leadership Award. Filan volunteers with several community organizations and has served on the board for the Association for Supportive Child Care.