Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Inaugural donor reception pairs students with benefactors

CGCC President Linda Lujan with recipients of the
Florence A. Walsh Memorial Scholarship.
Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) held its inaugural scholarship donor reception on Dec. 4. More than 40 students were recognized as recipients of scholarships established by individuals, organizations and corporations, whose representatives were also present. This fall, CGCC awarded $883,000 in scholarships to more than 2,842 students.

CGCC President Linda Lujan spoke at the event, noting “Donors understand that investments made in education are compounded dramatically in their return and their impact on the lives of students and their current and future families as well as on society.”

According to the College Board’s 2013 Education Pays, students who earn degrees are not only more likely to have a higher salary but they are also more likely to be employed, to receive health benefits and pension programs from their employers, to be more active citizens, to lead healthier lifestyles, to move up the socioeconomic ladder, and to spend more time with their children.

Lujan went on to note that scholarships are only one way the college works to help it’s nearly 20,000 students reach their individual education goals, mentioning dedicated staff and faculty; innovative programs designed by faculty either at the college or in conjunction with other colleges; support of the community through service-learning projects, internships and partnerships; as well as district-wide initiatives from the Maricopa County Community College District.

“CGCC’s vision is to help every student succeed,” said Lujan. “Awarding nearly one million dollars to deserving students wouldn’t be possible without our donors. It’s important that we take the time to recognize and honor them and give them the opportunity to meet the students who are benefitting from their generosity.”
CGCC Aviation and Applied Technology Division Chair
Mike Hutto (left) and Bill Kipper from Boeing with aviation
and engineering student recipients of the Boeing Scholarship and
the SRP Get Into Energy Scholarship for Engineering.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New web design certificate will save money for small businesses

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) announces the availability of a new certificate program in web design. The program includes six classes (18 units) and is intended for those interested in designing and maintaining web pages for personal or small business use.

“This certificate addresses a business need for entrepreneurs and small business owners to develop the right skill set that will allow them to build and maintain a viable website that can support transactions and sales,” said Patricia Baker, computing studies faculty at CGCC. “Not only will the program save them valuable resources by not having to rely on external consultants, but many of the classes are online, allowing individuals to complete the classes based on personal availability.”

Students will learn basic skills in web development using HTML5 and CSS, creating and manipulating photos and artwork, and coding in JavaScript. The final capstone class in e-commerce pulls together the skills learned in earlier classes.

Classes begin spring 2015. Register today at

CGCC named eighth time to President's Community Service Honor Roll

Dec. 16 – Two Maricopa Community Colleges have been named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Chandler-Gilbert (CGCC) and Mesa Community College (MCC) were selected among only 766 higher education institutions nationwide, and among only four in the State of Arizona. The recognition highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community challenges, and helps students pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement.

“Chandler-Gilbert Community College was built on a foundation of service to the community,” said CGCC President Linda Lujan. “Because of our outstanding service-learning faculty and staff, more than 3,800 students last year provided countless hours of service and have been enriched by their service-learning experiences. It is indeed an honor to continue to be recognized nationally for our dedication to this important work.”

“We are proud to continue to receive this designation since its inception," said Shouan Pan, MCC President. "MCC has a long-held tradition of promoting service-learning, civic engagement, and
innovative teaching. We are committed to preparing students to be engaged and informed citizens through real life experiences.”

College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country — a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service, has administered the award since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the American Council on
Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in a news release. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”

More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees may be found at


The Maricopa Community Colleges system includes 10 colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise\ Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale and South Mountain, two skill centers, and several satellite campuses and business/ industry, technical and customized training institutes. It also includes the Maricopa Corporate College, which delivers market-relevant, customized workforce solutions and education for students and employees in
virtually every industry sector. Through a strategic business partnership model, MCOR assesses workforce training needs and develops and delivers customized and integrated solutions to meet those needs throughout all levels of an organization.

The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Monday, December 15, 2014

CGCC welcomes new vice president of IT and Media Services

Dr. Charles Nwankwo
December 12, 2014 – Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) announces the addition of Charles Nwankwo as vice president of Information Technology and Media Services to its executive leadership team. In his position, Nwankwo will provide leadership to ensure that the technological services of the college meet the present and future needs of all students, faculty and staff.

"Chandler-Gilbert Community College relies heavily on technology to achieve our vision of ensuring every student succeeds,” said Linda Lujan, president of CGCC. “Dr. Nwankwo brings a depth and breadth of knowledge, particularly in a higher education setting, that will help the department maintain current systems as well as implement those technologies that will benefit students and employees.”

Nwankwo formerly served as the chief information resources and technology officer at SOWELA Technical Community College in the Louisiana Community College System. Prior to that position, he worked in the district information technology office of Houston Community College System in Houston, Texas. In addition to his leadership roles, Nwankwo has continued to teach as adjunct faculty in the classroom and online. His courses include biology, general biology, environmental science, earth science, oceanography and historical geology. Nwankwo earned his doctoral degree in education administration with emphasis on community college leadership from the University of Texas, a master's degree in environmental science and a bachelor's degree in environmental biology from the University of Houston.

“I am thrilled to join the Chandler-Gilbert family and the dedicated team of faculty, staff and administrators,” said Nwankwo. “I am looking forward to leading the division of Information Technology and Media Services and being able to contribute to the student success mission of the college.

Born in Nigeria, Africa, Nwankwo came to the United States as a young adult to pursue higher education. He attended a community college in Houston, Texas where he developed a love for technology and science and a passion for helping others through education. After earning his associate degree, he became a peer mentor to other community college students supporting their academic and social adjustment to the school. In doing this, he realized the importance of on-campus cultural diversity; an awareness that he is committed to sharing with his students to this day.

"I want to help students to learn, understand and to appreciate that we live in a global community and to embrace each other’s differences and commonalities as well as cultures," said Nwankwo. "I want to inspire and mentor CGCC students from different cultural backgrounds through my own personal experiences."

Friday, December 12, 2014

24-hour event teaches game-design skills

Fifty-five students spent 24 hours on campus to create games for grade-school children at the Intel Code for Good Hackathon on Nov. 21-22.

Students broke into 10 teams and created the proof-of-concept demos of games that teach impressionable kids about healthy lifestyle choices and as well as fitness and wellness. Volunteers from Intel, faculty from CGCC, hackathon veteran student mentors and subject matter experts guided the creative students – most having little to no previous experience with JavaScript – through the self-driven learning process, with many of them getting their games to work on mobile devices.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

CGCC launches paramedicine program

Chandler-Gilbert Community College is introducing an Emergency Response and Operations – Paramedicine education program in partnership with Phoenix College. Applications are now being accepted for the nine-month program which holds classes two days a week (Tuesday and Friday) for eight hours a day and was designed to have minimal impact on most East Valley firefighter schedules.

Completion of general education requirements along with the paramedicine specialized
education and curriculum will give students the courses needed for a degree in Emergency Response Operations (ERO). Additionally, the program will prepare students for certification testing with the National Registry of Emergency technicians at the level of paramedic. Any EMT B wanting to be a paramedic is encouraged to apply.

Deadline for submission is Dec. 29. Learn more at

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nursing students bring health fair to senior centers

Jared Brimhall and fellow nursing students with their poster
at the Chandler Senior Center.
Nursing students visited the Chandler and Gilbert Senior Centers on Nov. 12 presenting posters and handouts on age-appropriate health topics. The service-learning event gives students the opportunity to interact with seniors, discuss health issues and hear their concerns.

“We do our clinicals in long-term care facilities and so the senior center health fair gives us an opportunity to see seniors who are, for the most part, healthy and strong,” said Jared Brimhall, nursing student. “These seniors — some who are in their 80s and 90s and living independently — are examples of the things we read about in the textbooks. It’s nice to get out in the community and talk with some of the patient population we’ll be taking care of after we graduate about health issues, what’s working well and how they stay healthy.“

The fairs have been a collaboration with the senior centers for the past three years.

“This event is good in many aspects for seniors,” said Eliza Haws, recreation coordinator at the Chandler Senior Center. “From a social perspective, the seniors love having youth come to the center. From an educational perspective, they are interested in the research on the health topics that the students present. It’s also beneficial to the students by providing them with an opportunity to speak with seniors on health topics. So it’s good for everyone.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Psychology conference brings profession to life for students

Zoila Tovar-Blank with the four students attending the
Arizona Psychologial Association conference in Tucson.
Four Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) students attended the Arizona Psychological Association convention in Tucson in October. Katharin Kubista, James Reagan, Patrick Sanborn and Jessica Von Hoff attended the conference after winning an essay contest asking interested students why they wanted to attend. Though, initially only two students were selected to attend, club fundraising and generous donations from psychology faculty Belinda Ramos and Scott Silberman and CGCC President Linda Lujan enabled the contest runners up to attend as well. CGCC was the only community college with students attending the conference.

“Attending the conference has a number of benefits for the students,” said Zoila Tovar-Blank, psychology club advisor and psychology faculty. “It exposes them to the field and to the ‘real-world’ of psychology. They also see that psychologists are people like themselves interested in helping others, which dispels the idea that they have to be brilliant or accomplished in some way to contribute to the profession. Finally, they get exposure to current research and its application.”

CGCC Psychology Club President Patrick Sanborn agrees.

“Attending the conference brought the profession of psychology to life,” said Sanborn. “The sessions introduced me to topics I might come across as a counselor and, as I met practicing psychologists, I realized they are down-to-earth and have troubles just like others. Eleven years of schooling to become a psychologist seems daunting, but I was able to see how others did it and it gave me confidence. I’m so grateful for the donations that allowed me and my fellow students to go. It was incredibly beneficial and I encourage any interested student to apply next year.”

The students also make some great connections and plan to invite many of them to present for the Psychology Club’s Brown Bag Lecture Series next semester and the coming year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Employee commitment to service extends into the community

CGCC employees serving dinner at Paz de Christo on Dec. 2.
Members of the Professional Staff Association volunteering
at United Food Bank
As public employees, staff at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) are already committed to public service, but one group has made it part of their mission to also conduct service in the community as well. Each month, members of the Professional Staff Association (PSA) work with local organizations on a selected community service project.

“As a long-time member of PSA, I know that many of our members volunteer individually in the community,” said Julie Wright, fiscal technician and PSA president of the CGCC chapter. “When I became president, I wanted to combine our individual efforts because we can do greater things with greater numbers of participants.”

On Dec 2, the group prepared and served dinner for hungry families along with other CGCC employees at Paz de Cristo community center in Mesa. They gathered and donated school supplies in September in collaboration with Humphrey Elementary School for Concordia Charter School which teaches children in disadvantaged communities. They also put together food boxes for United Food Bank in October. In support of the holiday season, they will work with Student Life to collect gifts and food for struggling student families.

“Initially, I thought the projects would just attract the same people who volunteer individually,” said Wright. “Instead, each event is getting larger and we are beginning to work with other groups like student clubs and other employee groups, which is exciting and rewarding. It’s validation that we are more than just a title or person behind a desk; that, individually and collectively, we truly care about our college and local community.”

New fire truck takes fire science program to next level

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) fire science students are receiving a new classroom experience due to a new fire truck purchased earlier this fall. The new CGCC truck allows students to receive critical hands-on field training while learning the ins and outs of operating a fire truck.

“The addition of the truck has allowed our program to be taken to the next level,” said Jason D’Eliso, health sciences lab coordinator and CGCC adjunct faculty member in the fire sciences program. “Our students are able to physically apply the concepts taught in the classroom and to participate in on-site drills crucial to preparing them for the everyday situations they will face as fire fighters.”

Purchased from the Tempe Fire Department, the 2005 fire truck is fully equipped with key fire-fighting components, including ladders, pike poles, axes and cutting equipment, hoses and various other tools. Prior to purchasing the truck, the fire science program relied heavily on the partnership of local fire departments to lend their trucks for hands-on training.

“Having full time access to our own truck vastly improves how effectively we can teach our students,” added D’Eliso.

The fire science program at CGCC is designed for students who need (1) advanced training as professional firefighters, (2) basic preparation courses for a career in fire services and/or (3) more comprehensive information about the fire hazard and prevention. Students interested in learning more about the program should visit

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Partnership with Quantum benefits veterans

(Photo: Quantum Helicopters)
Chandler-Gilbert Community College's partnership with Quantum Helicopters was highlighted in an Arizona Republic article written by Annie Yu.

Quantum Helicopters established a veterans training program in 1994 according to Quantum Helicopters President Neil Jones. The partnership between Quantum Helicopters and CGCC began in early 2012 and has trained about 50 veterans. Read the full story.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Empty Bowls event raises funds for local families in need

On Thursday, Oct. 30, Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) hosted the second annual Empty Bowls fundraiser event to benefit the Chandler Christian Community Center (CCCC). The event was sponsored by members of Student Life and the Service Learning Office. Attendees purchased handmade ceramic bowls for $10 made by CGCC ceramics students with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting CCCC. This year's event raised $4,709 for families in need.

"We are grateful for those who came out to support the Empty Bowls event and to help fight hunger in the local community," said Alexandra Cannell, service-learning coordinator at CGCC. "The goal of Empty Bowls is to bring food to the table for families who are struggling by bringing art to the community. Due to the dedication and participation from our students, we were able to reach that goal."

Event attendees were served a 300-calorie meal which included a cup of hot soup and a bread roll. This light fare meant to signify the average amount of calories a food-insecure person eats in one day.

CCCC's mission and vision is to change lives by nourishing minds and bodies to create a connected, thriving community and to have a healthy and productive community built on a foundation of dignity and hope. Each year CCCC distributes over 15,000 food boxes with enough food to feed over 50,000 adults and children.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Vocal major places first in state and regional competitions

Vocal student major Sam Loose took first place in two recent competitions. The Valley of the Sun National Association of Teachers of Singing Musical Theater Auditions was held Nov. 7-8. Loose took first place in Divisions 21-23. He also won the Arizona’s Rockin’ with Talent competition on Oct. 25, walking away as the adult talent division winner as well as the overall winner by singing “Stars” from Les Miserables.

“I was thoroughly surprised when they announced I was the overall winner,” said Loose, who received a cash award and an all-expense-paid trip to Branson, Miss. to open for The Duttons. “Although I appreciate the awards, especially the cash as a full-time student, I’m most pleased that people still enjoy live music and the art of stage performance.”

Loose has performed in many of Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s productions including "Seussical" (in which he was nominated for a Zoni award as the Cat in the Hat), "The Fantasticks," "A Christmas Carol" and others. He will graduate in May and plans to apply to Juilliard, New York University and other universities well-known for their musical arts programs.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chandler-Gilbert ranks 15 in Chandler Top 100 companies

Chandler-Gilbert Community College was ranked 15th in the 2014 Chandler Chamber of Commerce Top 100 companies in Chandler. The ranking is based on the physical presence in Chandler and/or infrastructure, number of employees in Chandler and Arizona, and being a stakeholder in the community. View the entire list online.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Two selected for educator and employee of the year

Ted Wolter and Linda Shaw were selected as the Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) Educator of the Year and CGCC Staff Employee of the Year for the 19th annual Gilbert Community Excellence Awards. The awards will be presented during an awards ceremony on Friday, Nov. 14.

Ted Wolter has been with CGCC for more than 25 years. As the founding art faculty, Wolter shaped the art program from its inception, mentored new art faculty as they joined the college, and shepherded the program through growth and change. His keen insights, skills, opinions and knowledge are sought and trusted. He has provided valuable counsel to three college presidents in a variety of roles with his ability to understand “big picture” and historical issues. Wolter has been regularly recruited for college and district-wide committees such as the CGCC Maricopa Priorities Instructional Task Force, the college’s Comprehensive Facilities Planning Team, the Instructional Computing Committee, and the District-wide Art Instructional Council.

Wolter is a former Communication & Fine Arts Division chair and co-chair of the Chair Council. As a responsive and thoughtful communicator, he serves as a model and mentor to both new and seasoned faculty. He is a thorough and passionate educator whose knowledge of his subject is unsurpassed. He employs an upbeat, friendly demeanor and fosters an open atmosphere in which students learn, grow and develop their skills and understanding of art. If only one word was used to describe Wolter, it would be his ‘gentleness’. His utmost caring is evident to students as he guides them to success through positive reinforcement and positive feedback.

In addition to being a superb educator, Wolter is also a talented working artist in several media (drawing, painting, graphic design and ceramics) who regularly exhibits his work. He organizes CGCC and district-wide student art shows with his colleagues, and maintains the college’s permanent art collection, which he inaugurated. Additionally, Wolter is also counted on to donate his beautiful artwork to college scholarship and charity fund-raising events.

Wolter is an exceptional asset who has made an enormous impact on students, colleagues, the college and the community.

CGCC’s Director of Admissions, Registration and Records Linda Shaw has served the Maricopa County Community College District for more than 24 years, six of them at CGCC. Known for her extensive knowledge and focus on student service, she is a valuable resource who willingly serves on a variety of local and district-wide committees benefitting hundreds of thousands of students. She works endlessly to motivate others and inspires excellence with her passion.

Shaw earns the praise and admiration of everyone with whom she serves. A true servant leader, she consistently goes above and beyond her duties without hesitation. A faculty member noted that, no matter how often he calls Linda during the day, she responds, “How may I help you?” She works hours alongside her staff at the admissions desk as well as many more completing forms and ensuring necessary changes are made to tens of thousands of student records, all on time and without mistakes. She has a reputation for maximizing resources to plan and execute the highest quality training that benefits all enrollment services personnel. An eager collaborator who seeks creative and innovative ways to serve and inform her colleagues, Shaw is also humble, always deflecting praise and positive comments to her staff.

Shaw is deserving of the recognition as employee of the year for her years of dedication to students, the college and the district.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wilkes University announces 30 scholarships to business transfer students

As a sign of its commitment to Mesa and the greater Phoenix area, Wilkes University announced today that it will award $5,000 scholarships to the first 30 qualified transfer students to be accepted and enroll in its business bachelor’s degree programs.

The Founders Scholarships, good for two years, build on a newly signed transfer agreement with the Maricopa Community Colleges and further the missions of both institutions to provide access to quality education at an affordable price.

Wilkes also is offering additional scholarships,including:

  • $1,900 Maricopa Community College Transfer Scholarship awarded to admitted transfer students,
  • $1,000 Mesa Community College Honors Scholarship, awarded to up to five students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa,
  • and the $5,000 Mesa Counts on College Scholarship awarded to four students who are Mesa residents. 

Get the details.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coyote Center grand opening highlights community support and blended use

Lauren Lancaster, president of the Associated Students of
CGCC,  cuts the ceremonial ribbon of the new Coyote
Center during the Sept. 24 grand opening.
More than 150 guests gathered on Sept. 25 for the grand opening of the Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) Coyote Center on the Pecos Campus. The event was held in the shadow of the two-story, 74,859-square-foot building and featured Maricopa Community College District speakers, elected officials representing local cities and towns, the architects and construction company who created the unique multi-use building, and college representatives and students using the facility.  Cutting the ceremonial ribbon was student Lauren  Lancaster, president of the Associated Students of  CGCC.

The building is one of a few in the nation to blend academics, athletics, enrollment services and student services to impact the success of each student which was noted by CGCC President Linda Lujan in her comments. View the Town of Gilbert news and video segment.

Launched in conjunction with the opening of the building was the introduction of a new model of student service that eliminates waiting in multiple lines and provides more efficient service. Students check in at the welcome desk and if they cannot be helped immediately, they are placed in the appropriate electronic queue. With nearly all student services located in the Coyote Center, students can find the much of the support they need in one location.

Athletics was also greatly impacted with the addition of a gym to the Pecos Campus, allowing the centralization of all nine athletic teams and their coaching staff to one campus. Located in the center of the building, the gym is now the largest gathering space for athletic, college or community events with bleacher seating for 1,000.

Most spaces were intentionally designed for this multi-use as well as adaptability and flexibility, according to CGCC Vice President of Administrative Services Jacalyn Askin. Many of the spaces can be easily reconfigured to adapt to the ever-changing needs of higher education. The facility also features a Veterans Center, classrooms and a 4,000-square-foot fitness center.

As part of the college’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability, the building incorporates many sustainable operations that make it certifiable LEED Gold rating. The facility was completed on-time and under budget with the full cost of $28.6 million coming from the public's approval of the 2004 General Obligation Bond Funds.

View the program to learn more about the Coyote Center at

Dean of Students Daniel Herbst
brought levity to the ceremonial
occasion by taking a picture from the
podium before his comments. 
Herbst's resulting photo

CGCC president to present at national climate change summit

Maricopa Community Colleges will be well represented at the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) 2014 Summit on Climate Leadership in Boston on October 1-3. Chandler-Gilbert Community College President Linda Lujan will join Irene Kovala and Jan Gehler, presidents of Glendale Community College and Scottsdale Community College respectively as well as more than 250 college and university leaders from across the nation.

Lujan, who serves on the ACUPCC Steering Committee, will present two sessions at the summit including Sustainability in Conservative Communities and Presidential Reflections and Summit Conclusion: A Central Question About Scaling Up.

The ACUPCC Summit reflects the centrality of higher education’s role in preparing new generations to meet the challenges of climate change. The program focuses on ways to build on the success of climate action plans and sustainability initiatives on ACUPCC campuses and develop solutions to the most pressing environmental problems facing our communities.

"Sustainability is a far-reaching, complex concept and topic that has far more relevancy to education than many people realize,” said Lujan, who also serves on the American Association of Community Colleges Sustainability Task Force. “Not only can higher education directly influence sustainability research and practice in classrooms and labs, but as business entities, colleges and universities can model best practices in sustainability. We can also serve as a catalyst and convener for important conversations all dimensions of the subject. It's an honor to represent the Maricopa Community College District in this work."

More than 680 colleges and universities in the U.S. are current ACUPCC signatories, representing all 50 states, D.C., and every category of public and private higher education institution. These signatories are committed to achieving carbon neutrality and represent more than 6.5 million students – one third of all college students in the nation.

“The summit is a key opportunity for ACUPCC presidents and their sustainability teams to work together to shape higher education’s critical role in advancing sustainability and addressing climate change at the national level,” said Portland State University President Wim Wiewel, chair of the ACUPCC Steering Committee. “The launch of the National Climate Assessment this past spring has given us a clear mandate and an excellent springboard for climate action. It’s imperative for higher education to respond and help lead our society in defining and achieving a sustainable future.”

The summit was designed by a group of 30 college and university presidents with the support of a committee of seven local institutions, and is organized into five tracks . CO2 impact from attendee travel, meeting space, and guest accommodations is being offset through purchase by The Revere Hotel of carbon offsets from Native Energy, Inc.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Performing arts programs win two ariZoni awards

Award-winning makeup and hair 
for SeussicalFeatured are The 
Bird Girls Laura Loose (purple), 
Shelby Daeffler (orange) and 
Abbeney Davis (green). 

Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s performing arts program received two ariZoni Theatre Awards on Monday, Sept. 15. CGCC received 10 nominations for the annual awards program, eight for the spring 2014 musical Seussical and two for the spring 2014 theater production The Bold, The Young and The Murdered

Awards were presented to student Laura Loose for hair and makeup design in Seussical and CGCC Performing Arts Center Facilities Coordinator Ron Keller for property design for The Bold, the Young and the Murdered. The award ceremony also featured the Seussical cast performing "Oh the Things you can Think" from the show. 

"I’m grateful for the opportunity to share in the success of Seussical,” said Laura Loose, who earned her cosmetology license at Eastern Arizona Academy of Cosmetology while attending Eastern Arizona College. "Receiving this award is such an honor. It confirms to me that I can do what I love with cosmetology in combination with theatre and music. I thoroughly enjoyed coming up with costume and makeup ideas with Patti (Duggar) that were over-the-top and reflected the unique imagination of Dr. Seuss."

The Bold, the Young and the Murdered utilized
the stage for the set, props and actors, but cleverly
included the audience as part of the the soap opera
filming studio which placed every member of
the audience directly in the heart of the action on stage.

Seussical nominations
  • Overall Production
  • Director - Sally Jesse
  • Musical Direction - Marc Denton
  • Actor in a Major Role - Samuel Loose
  • Costume Design - Patti Dugger
  • Hair and Makeup Design - Laura Loose
  • Sound Design - John Jackson
  • Property Design - Ron Keller 
The Bold, The Young and The Murdered nominations
  • Scenic Design - Ron Keller 
  • Property Design - Ron Keller

Friday, September 19, 2014

CGCC students land 3 of 6 spots to national leadership conference

Gabriel Lopez, Ashton Brackens, MEN club advisor Jill
Wendt, Alex Kneip and Tony Little, MEN club advisor.
Three members of the Male Empowerment Network (MEN) chapter at Chandler-Gilbert Community College were selected to attend the Men of Color Student Leadership Institute on Oct. 16-19 in Burlingame, California near San Francisco.

The Men of Color Student Leadership Institute is an intensive two-and-a-half-day leadership seminar sponsored by the Presidents’ Roundtable for selected men enrolled in one of the minority male programs across the country.  Six students were chosen to represent Maricopa Community College District and awarded scholarships to attend, including Ashton Brackens, Alexander Kneip, and Gabriel Lopez from CGCC.

“I’m ecstatic to be chosen,” said Alex Kneip, president of the CGCC MEN chapter. “I’m honored to be one of the few selected for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to the experiences which I hope will help me grow personally and provide me with the skills to be more of a positive influence to those around me.”

The student track of the institute will focus on Self-Image, College Completion and Career Readiness, Personal Health and Wellness, Entrepreneurship, Develop your Independent Nature and Lifestyle, Financial Literacy, and Parenting and Relationships.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jarvis to receive emeritus distinction

Ana Jarvis, Spanish faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), will be honored with emeritus distinction at the Maricopa County Community College District governing board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Jarvis was nominated by Virginia Edwards, division chair of Modern Languages and Humanities, and Spanish faculty Cynthia Bingham.

Jarvis was one of the first instructors hired at CGCC when it was still an educational center of Mesa Community College in 1987, and she was CGCC’s first Spanish faculty. During those early years when CGCC was emerging as an accredited institution, Jarvis taught a variety of Spanish classes and worked on developing a strong foreign language program. As the years went by, other languages were added to the department. She was instrumental in starting CGCC's Spanish honor society, Sigma Delta Mu, and an annual Foreign Language Night. For many years she helped plan International Student Week activities with CGCC’s International Student Office.

Jarvis was a key contributor to CGCC’s Marketing Committee and the International/Intercultural Education Committee. She is a gifted and prolific author whose "Como Se Dice" books are used by colleges and universities locally and nationally.

Edwards and Bingham note in the nomination, “Most of all, Ana has been a strong advocate for her students and her profession. She is known for mentoring and tutoring students and for introducing the beauty of the Spanish language and culture to thousands over the years. She has a sharp wit and a great sense of humor. She will be fondly remembered for her valiant resistance to the onslaught of technology, defiantly tapping on her typewriter long after those around her converted to computers, email, and online student information systems. She will be remembered as a dear friend and supportive colleague to many faculty and staff at CGCC.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Veterans Centers offer sanctuary to students

Veteran and student worker Antonio Felix helps fellow students in the
Williams Campus Veterans Center. 
Chandler-Gilbert Community College opened two new Veterans Centers this year – one each on the Pecos and Williams Campuses. Veterans make up three percent of the national college population and four percent of the CGCC student population. The Veterans Centers enable them to locate each other more easily and provide the resources they need to be successful in college. 

“Research shows that veterans do best when they can connect with other vets at college,” said Reda Chambers, coordinator of Veterans Services.  “Part of our being a military-friendly college means we design a way for them to easily do that as well as easily access the services they need.”

Both Veterans Centers offer furniture and a TV for relaxing as well as computers and spaces for studying. Veterans Administration work-study students are available to help with registering for classes, filing for veterans benefits and learning about college resources. The centers will also be headquarters for the Student Veterans Organization (SVO).

“Having a dedicated space not only demonstrates the commitment of the college to veterans but provides a little command center, if you will, for the SVO,” said Matt DePaul, SVO president. “I can bring in speakers or SVO presidents from the other Maricopa colleges and hold regular meetings to facilitate more opportunities for club members.” 

The center offers important intangible benefits as well.

“The centers give me a place to sit and interact with like-minded individuals, to share our stories and give each other support in a space physically designed for veterans. For example, there are no chairs with their backs to the door,” said DePaul. “It’s a sanctuary.”

The Veterans Centers are located in the new Coyote Center, CYT 2110, on the Pecos Campus and in the Bluford Building, BLUF 134, on the Williams Campus. For more information call 480-726-4094.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chandler Chamber awards three scholarships to business students

Chandler Chamber of Commerce CEO Terri Kimble (left)
presented scholarships to three business students at the
Chandler Chamber Community Awards. 
The Chandler Chamber Community Foundation awarded scholarships to three business students from Chandler-Gilbert Community College on May 29 at the Chandler Chamber Community Awards dinner. Candace Dunn, Danny Ortiz and Aaron Tenorio each received $2,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year to be applied toward business classes.

Dunn is pursuing a business administration degree and plans to work in human resources. Ortiz is working toward his business management degree and wants to start his own business. Tenorio is an accounting major.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Silsby joins CGCC as men's basketball coach

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) hired Steve Silsby as its first full-time men’s basketball coach on July 21. Silsby joined CGCC after eight seasons as head men’s basketball coach for the University of Great Falls, where he built the program into a perennial Frontier Conference contender. Previous to UGF, he served three years as assistant men’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director for Scottsdale Community College.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to bring on a full-time basketball coach to this campus,” said Ed Yeager, director of athletics for CGCC. “Not only was Steve an exact right fit because of his familiarity with the Valley and previous experience, but his hiring brings a new beginning for the men’s basketball team.”

CGCC’s basketball program has had only part-time coaches since its inception 15 years ago and was based on the Williams Campus near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport where the gym was located. A new gym was completed on the Pecos Campus in July with the construction of the 74,859-square-foot Coyote Center, which houses athletics as well as enrollment and student services.

“Having a full-time coach on the same campus with most of our athletes will make a significant positive impact,” said Yeager. “The athletes will receive more attention and have quicker access to a network of support if they experience any problems in academics or on the court. “
Silsby is looking forward to building a new culture for the team.

“I’m thrilled to be here and to be able to contribute to not only the success of the athletics department but also to the team members,” said Silsby. “I tell the students that the knowledge they gain here will set them up for the next 30-40 years, and that knowledge is more than just how to play well, it’s about striving for excellence in all aspects of their lives.”

Silsby joins three full-time coaches in baseball, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Basketball alum goes pro

An article in the July 25 issue of Alaska News-Miner notes that Andrew Kelly '12 of the Alaska Nanooks has signed to play one year with Club Sindri in Hofn, Iceland. Kelly was the 2013-14 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Club Sindri is one of 18 teams in the Second Division of the Icelandic Basketball Federation.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Two alumni pitch for the NY Yankees in same game

Jeron Long '12
 Two Chandler-Gilbert Community College baseball alumni pitched in a double A game for the New York Yankees on July 13. The starter Jaron Long ’12 secured the win and James Pazos ’10 secured a save.

James Pazos '10
“It’s extremely rare to have two alumni from the same community college both pitch for the same team in the same game and record a win and a save,” said Russ Luce, CGCC baseball coach. “We are fortunate to have such quality players come through the college and continue on to play at such a high level.”

Both Long and Pazos play for the Trenton Thunder, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Read about the game

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Baseball pitcher is among top 12 in nation

Jon Ferrendelli
Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) baseball pitcher Jon Ferrendelli was named to the First Team All American in Division II by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NCJAA) in June. Selected from a pool of national nominees, Ferrendelli was one of 12 to be selected to the team and is the fourth baseball player from CGCC to receive the honor. Ferrendelli was also named Academic All American for his consistent academic excellence.

“It was phenomenal to have Jon as part of our team. He excelled both academically and athletically,” said Russ Luce, CGCC baseball coach. “When we brought him on, we had aspirations that he would be a good player, but we didn’t anticipate that he would become one of the best – as a player and a student – in the entire conference.”

Ferrendelli finished the 2014 season 7-2 with a 1.38 ERA over 91 innings pitched.  He struck out 100 batters and allowed only 19 runs (14 earned) on the season. During his two years with the Coyotes, Ferrendelli finished 13-4 with a 1.71 ERA and 158 strikeouts over 168 innings.

Ferrendelli graduated in May with high distinction, earning an associate degree in business finance. He is headed to Wichita State on a baseball scholarship to pitch for the Shockers.

CGCC selected as noteworthy Arizona community college

Chandler-Gilbert Community College was selected as one of ten "Noteworthy community colleges in Arizona" in an article posted July 15 on

Among having one of the highest first-year retention rates in the state in 2013, it lists the college's variety of degree and certificate programs in common and niche disciplines, free career services, one-on-one advising and support services designed for midlife career changers as reasons for selection. Read the full article.

New college fitness center offers inexpensive options for Southeast valley residents

The new Coyote Center opened on the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Pecos Campus on July 15. Included in the new building is a 4,000-square-foot fitness center offering a full line of cardiovascular equipment, resistance training machines, a complete free weight section with Olympic lifting platforms, and an outdoor turf field. There is also a 1,800-square-foot group fitness room. 

Community members can enroll in a non-credit class for $80 and have 15 weeks of access to the fitness center. If they sign-up for the two-credit class (PED115), they’ll have access to the fitness center as well as be able to drop into any open group fitness class including yoga, pilates, bootcamp fitness, stretch and relaxation, meditative yoga, tai chi and zumba.

Access to the center means access to the staff who have advanced degrees in exercise science and personal training or strength and conditioning certifications through accredited organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, or National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Other free services available to anyone who enrolls include exercise program design, blood pressure checks, body composition assessment, body circumference measurements, cardiovascular fitness assessment and muscular strength/endurance assessments.

The fitness center opens on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information call the fitness center at 480-732-7200 or visit

Monday, July 21, 2014

Retention is focus of CGCC predictive model

A Business Officer article profiling college 'big data' projects highlights Chandler-Gilbert Community College's predictive retention model which helps predict, based on a variety of factors, those students who are more likely to need support to complete their studies.

The article titled "Predictive Patterns" by Margo Vanover Porter interviews Bradley Kendrex, associate dean of finance and business services, as he and his team including Theresa Wong, director of research, planning and development, try to answer how the college can know earlier when a student is at risk of leaving.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New ceramics mural depicts principles of art and design

Four of 13 panels of the new ceramics mural
depict light, texture, line and space.
All good art embodies at least one, though you may not recognize it right away.

The principles and elements of design are taught in all art classes and are the focus of a new mural installed at the Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s (CGCC) Pecos Campus in April.

Created by ceramics lab technician Sam Hodges through a grant funded by the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction, the 13 panels of the mural represent the six principles (balance, proportion, repetition, rhythm, emphasis and variety) and seven elements  of design (space, form, time, color, light, texture and line). Each panel measures 2 feet by 4 feet, and provide a practical demonstration of how the elements and principles are utilized in art.

The mural was installed on the north exterior wall of the ceramics studio facing the Environmental Technology Center, a location chosen by the artist.  “It was important to place the mural in a location that was easily accessible by art students, so they could be used as a reference or to open a dialogue,” said Hodges.

Hodges started as an art student at Mesa Community College (MCC) and was chosen along with two other students by her instructor Linda Speranza to do an 38' x 17' mural for that college. The project opened a doorway to a career in public art.  She also began working at CGCC.

In 2010, Hodges conceived and proposed the creation of a mural demonstrating the principles of design for MCC, which was approved and installed on the art building. As staff at CGCC, she saw a need to have a similar mural at the Pecos Campus and widened the scope to include the elements of design as well.

Though the grant, which included the addition of the elements of design being added to the original six principles at the MCC campus, was approved, the funding was less than requested. The donation of all of the glazes by Amaco as well as the donation of all the clay saved approximately $3,500. David Andersen also charged a much lower fee to install the murals.

“The murals are representative of a circle of support for public art,” said Hodges. “I was given the opportunity as a student to become a public artist, which led me to propose and create art that is funded by the public and supported with corporate donations and allows me to engage other students in the production of public art.  It’s very rewarding.”

M.E.N. group awarded chapter of the year

Members of the CGCC MEN chapter receive their award
as chapter of the year.
The Chandler-Gilbert Community College chapter of the Male Empowerment Network (MEN) was awarded chapter of the year by the Maricopa County Community College District on May 2.

The group was started two years ago by former staff members Cesar Becerra and Jesus Chaidez Hernandez after visiting Estrella Mountain Community College’s program and seeing the impact it was having on male minority students there.

Though the chapter started off slow, it picked up significant momentum in 2013-2014 with Martine Garcia ’14 as president and Tony Little, manager of college cashier services, as campus co-advisor along with Jill Wendt, faculty in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“Although we planted the seed, Martine and Tony opened a door,” said Becerra, coordinator of recruitment programs at Mesa Community College. “They and the other members really took the chapter to the next level and made it a family where the guys could hang out and get involved in other campus activities and give each other support when they tripped up. That support often makes a difference whether they complete their studies or not.”

The mission of MEN has three primary goals:
  • Increase the access, persistence, and graduation rate of minority male students
  • Connect minority male students with academic and professional support resources/services
  • Create a culture of success and empowerment among minority male students. 
“The honor of being chosen as chapter of the year is beyond words,” said Little. “It validates the transformation that I am privileged to witness as the members become involved and committed to not only their own growth but to each other. MEN has helped them become better leaders and individuals, challenging them to focus on their grades, their community and their future success.”

For Garcia, the recognition is bittersweet.

“It has been a complete honor to serve as the president of such an amazing group of young, talented, ambitious, and educated men and women,” said Garcia. “I remember a group who didn't know anyone and were unsure of how to handle life and college. Now I see a family, who would do anything to make sure that their fellow brother or sister succeeds. It has just been a humbling experience.”