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Press Releases

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Abbe Rich is Orange Coast College's new pastry chef . The 25-year-old OCC graduate, and lifetime Huntington Beach resident, runs the college's highly acclaimed bakery, located in the Student Center Cafeteria. "My job is to keep our bakery case full every day, and I'm having lots of fun doing that," she says. "Everything is fresh daily." She spends weekdays­Mondays through Fridays, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.­churning out delicious items from the bakery. Abbe makes Danish pastries, cinnamon rolls, croissants, cookies, muffins, quick breads, apple fritters, cream puffs, chocolate eclairs, donuts, small carrot cakes, cannolis and bread puddings. She plans to add a number of new items to the bakery menu, including creme broulet, puddings, individual tarts, higher-end pastries, and even quarter cakes, full-sheet cakes and wedding cakes. Abbe earned an OCC associate in arts degree in culinary arts, and a pair of certificates in culinary arts and advanced culinary arts. Rich developed an interest in cooking at a tender age. "My grandmother was instrumental in the process," she says. "I started cooking in her kitchen. Something about that experience lit a spark in my life." Abbe graduated from Marina High School in 1996 and elected to attend Orange Coast College and major in culinary arts. OCC has a nationally recognized culinary arts program. "On many occasions I've had people ask me: 'Why didn't you attend the Culinary Institute of America, or the California Culinary Academy, or the Art Institute, or Le Cordon Bleu in Paris?' I always respond the same way: 'Why would I want to spend $20,000 or more a year when I could attend one of the finest culinary schools in the country in my own a fraction of the cost?" Abbe graduated from OCC in 2001. She was a member of the college's culinary team that won a gold medal at the American Culinary Federation Western Region Junior Member Hot Food Championships in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and a silver the following year in regional competition on the Big Island of Hawaii. She traveled with OCC culinary students in the fall of 2000 to the World Culinary Olympics in Efurt, Germany. Later, the Orange Coast students traveled to France and attended a workshop at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. "The quality of the instruction I received at Orange Coast College, and the depth of experiences I was exposed to, were amazing," she said. Following graduation, Abbe worked for a time at a country club in Huntington Beach, handling banquets. She later worked for the Robert Mondavi Winery as a pastry assistant in the winery's commissary bakery. Prior to joining OCC's staff, she was employed as a research and development assistant, and, later, chef, for Sweet Life Enterprises. Abbe's goal is to someday establish her own bakery. Contact: Abbe Rich, Pastry Chef (714-432-0202, Ext. 26435).

Orange Coast College's Admissions and Records Office has noted some interesting trends in student applications and registration data over the past five years according to a report issued recently by admissions dean, Dr. Nancy L. Kidder. The number of students who have applied to OCC over the past five years­between 1998 and 2003­has increased by 31 percent. " Increased college applications has become a nationwide trend," Kidder said. "The 'baby boomlet' seems to be one reason for that increase." The boomlet has insured that more students are graduating today from the nation's high schools than 10 years ago. "But, that's only one factor that has impacted the number of applications we're receiving," Kidder said. "It's also important to note that it has become increasingly difficult for students to get into higher education in this country, so students are attempting to improve their odds by applying to more institutions." While applications have risen by 31 percent at OCC over the past five years, enrollment has increased by a more modest nine percent. The college is awarding 16 percent more associate in arts degrees and certificates of achievement now than it did five years ago. "We have made a concerted effort in recent years to increase our graduation numbers, and these latest statistics demonstrate the fact that our efforts have been successful," Kidder said. Requests by former OCC students for copies of their student transcripts has increased by 11 percent in the last five years. "We're an older institution­founded in 1947­so we have a very large pool of graduates and former students out there in the community," she said. "Today, many employers require that job applicants supply copies of their college transcripts during the interview process. Increasing numbers of our former students are returning to campus to request transcripts." Kidder says incoming transcripts­transcripts sent to OCC by other colleges for their students who are transferring to Coast­have increased by 15 percent over the past five years. "Approximately 50 percent of our 27,000 students have attended other colleges before enrolling at Orange Coast College," Kidder said. "Our Admissions Office is seeing an ever-growing number of transcripts arriving from other college campuses." OCC's student population is also getting younger. Since 1995, Kidder said, the college has increased its number of students below the age of 21 by 38 percent. Eight years ago, 34 percent of Orange Coast College's student population was under age 21. Today's figure is 47 percent. A total of 70 percent of OCC's students this fall are under the age of 25. Fifty-nine percent were under 25 in 1995. OCC this fall is showing greater diversity in its student population. Eight years ago, 54 percent of the college's students were Caucasian. That number is now 48 percent. Hispanic/Latino students have grown from 12 percent of the student population in 1995 to 16.4 percent today. Asian students have been holding steady the past three years at 22 percent of the total population. Female students, which comprised 54 percent of OCC's student body last year, dipped to 52 percent this fall. Brand new, first-time students make up 30 percent of OCC's fall 2003 population. Contact: Dr. Nancy L. Kidder, Administrative Dean of Admissions and Records (714-432-5773).

OCC professor of philosophy and humanities, Dr. Eleanor Katz, will lead a four week program to Paris and Toulouse next summer. The six-unit field study program, titled "Summer in Paris and Toulouse," runs June 1-27, 2004. It will be taught by Katz, a specialist in contemporary philosophy, art history and literature. She will be assisted by Michael Crow, a former OCC professor of history for 21 years who is currently director for institutional research and planning at Savannah State University in Georgia. Crow is a generalist in modern history. "The summer program provides a survey of major historical and cultural periods in both Paris and Toulouse," Katz says. "It places an emphasis on 19th century Paris, the renovations of the Second Empire and neoclassicism, the impressionists and expressionists, and transforming events that shaped 20th century Paris." The program will give special attention to the interim period between the world wars; the contemporary history of Paris; and literary Paris, focusing on the city's art, literature and existentialist philosophy. Crow will focus his lectures on problems faced by France during World War II, and the liberation of Paris by the allies. Contact: Dr. Eleanor Katz, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities (714-432-5029).

OCC professor of mathematics and computer information systems, Kevin L. Shannon, has been named the college's Faculty Member of the Year for 2003-04 by vote of the college's faculty and staff. Shannon, 53, a Costa Mesa resident, has been a member of OCC's faculty for 26 years. Twelve OCC professors were nominated by members of the college community (students, staff, faculty and administrators) for this year's Faculty Member of the Year Award. Letters of recommendation were submitted, and the college's entire staff voted, Nov. 12-13. "I am touched by this honor," Shannon said upon receiving word of his selection. "I like people; I smile a lot; and I love this job. The privilege of being able to teach is honor enough. I am humbled by the award." Shannon will be recognized on Tuesday, April 13, during a presentation in OCC's Student Center Lounge. The program will begin at 2 p.m., and will conclude with a reception. Shannon will deliver a 30-minute lecture that will focus on his philosophy of teaching. OCC's Faculty Member of the Year will also be the featured speaker at the college's 56th commencement ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, May 27. The Faculty Member of the Year Award, being given for the 13th year, is sponsored by OCC's Staff Development Office and Academic Senate. A native of Seattle, Shannon grew up in Southern California. He earned his B.A. degree in mathematics at UC Santa Barbara and an M.A. in math at UCLA. Shannon joined OCC's staff as a full-time faculty member in 1977. Two years ago, he was honored by OCC's student government with its "Friend of the Students Award." "Kevin is very enthusiastic about math and it comes through in his lectures," wrote his course assistant, Sharon Middleton, in a letter supporting Shannon's nomination. "His students are so attentive in his lectures that they seem almost to hang on his every word. He commands his students in such a way that we have often said that he has them spellbound." A former OCC student who is now studying at California State University at Long Beach called Shannon a demanding professor, but extraordinarily helpful. "I've never worked so hard in any class as I did in his; and I've never learned so much," she wrote in a nomination letter. A former student of Shannon's, who is now studying astronomy and mathematics at San Diego State University, admits that he was math phobic prior to taking the OCC professor's intermediate algebra class. He is now enrolled in calculus, linear algebra, physics and planetary astronomy at San Diego State. Contact: Kevin L. Shannon, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Information Systems (714-432-5563).

Orange Coast College ranks number three out of California's 108 community colleges in the number of students it transferred during the 2002-03 academic year to the nine University of California campuses and the 23-campus California State University system. The latest transfer statistics were released this fall by the California Postsecondary Education Commission. OCC ranked number two in the state in 2002-03 in transfers to the 23 CSU campuses, and number six in transfers to the UC system. Combined, OCC is third in transfers to the two California higher education systems. OCC transferred 1,705 students to the two systems in 2002-03. DeAnza College of Cupertino ranks first in the state in transfers to the two systems with 1,937 transfers. Santa Monica College is second (1,906), Pasadena City College fourth (1,625) and Diablo Valley College of Pleasant Hill fifth (1,614). OCC is second on the list for transfers to the California State University system with 1,255 transfers in 2002-03. DeAnza is first in CSU transfers with 1,348, Fullerton College third (1,225), City College of San Francisco fourth (1,224) and Mt. San Antonio College fifth (1,177). Santa Monica heads the list of University of California transfers with 895. DeAnza is second (589), Diablo Valley third (564), Santa Barbara City College fourth (518), Pasadena City College fifth (465) and OCC sixth (450).

Top 10 California Community College Transfer Schools
To UC and CSU Campuses in 2002-03

RankCollegeUCCSUTotal Transfers
1. DeAnza College 589 1.348 1,937
2. Santa Monica College 895 1,011 1,906
3. Orange Coast College 450 1,255 1,705
4. Pasadena City College 465 1,160 1,625
5. Diablo Valley College 564 1,050 1,614
6. City College of San Francisco 297 1,224 1,521
7. Mt. San Antonio College 328 1,177 1,505
8. Fullerton College 165 1,225 1,390
9. Riverside College 328 950 1,278
10. El Camino College 256 1,015 1,271

Contact: Dan Weber, Transfer Center Director (714-432-5894).

OCC's new Emeritus Institute has selected its first slate of officers . The college created the Institute last spring to capture the energy, enthusiasm, expertise and creativity of thousands of professionals who have retired from its hallowed halls. The college recently entered its 56th academic year. It was founded in 1947. President of the Emeritus Institute is former Orange Coast administrator, James E. Garmon. Garmon also served as an administrator at OCC's sister college, Coastline Community College. The Costa Mesa resident retired seven years ago. Vice president is Rachel Perez Hamilton of Costa Mesa. Perez Hamilton, a 1958 OCC graduate, served on the college's staff for many years, working as a secretary in the Athletic Department. She is past president of the college's Alumni and Friends Association. Judy Lindsay of Costa Mesa is secretary/treasurer of the Emeritus Institute. Lindsay, an Orange Coast College graduate, served on the college's staff for 28 years as senior staff assistant. She retired last summer. "The OCC Emeritus Institute is an organization that is unique among community colleges in the State of California," says Jess Craig, the college's vice president of Student Services. "Some community colleges have organizations that are called emeritus institutes, but they offer classes and services for senior citizens living in their community. I'm not aware of another community college that has an emeritus institute that serves the needs of its retired faculty and staff, and that capitalizes on their talents and skills." OCC's Emeritus Institute has established four working committees. The committees include: the Design and Development Committee; the Opportunities and Options Committee; the Family and Friends Committee; and the History and Heritage Committee. The Design and Development Committee is creating a charter and bylaws for the organization. The Opportunities and Options Committee is brainstorming ideas for how retirees may, if they wish, become involved in the daily life of the campus. The Emeritus Institute's primary goal is to remain in contact with the college's retirees. The Family and Friends Committee is building a comprehensive list of everyone who has ever been employed by the college. It also maintains close liaison with existing campus support committees, such as the Friends of the Library, the Friends of the Robert B. Moore Theatre and the Friends of the Children's Center. The Emeritus Institute's History and Heritage Committee is overseeing the college's archives and historical records and collections. Contact: Jess Craig, Vice President of Student Services (714-432-5897).