By Jim Carnett
(Jim was an Orange Coast College student in the early 1960s. Now in his 36th year as Director of Community Relations, he is editor of Coast-to-Coast. This is a regular column that focuses on OCC’s history and distinctive characteristics and characters.)
This column regularly runs biographical sketches of unforgettable Orange Coast College personalities.
This week’s stellar group includes Dr. Jack Scott, Nettie-Ann Loranger and Dr. Art Martinez. The trio contributed mightily to this college’s growth and development. Dr. Jack Scott (1973-78)
Dr. Jack Scott
Dr. Jack Alan Scott spent just five years at Orange Coast College – as vice president of instruction – but those years changed his life dramatically and impacted higher education in California for decades to come.
“OCC opened my eyes to the world of community college education,” he said recently. “I’m very grateful for that.”
After Coast, Jack went on to serve 17 years as president of two colleges, was a member of the State Assembly for four years and, for the past seven years, has been a State Senator representing California’s 21st District
Sen. Scott (D-Pasadena) represents the citizens of Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, a portion of the city of Los Angeles, and other surrounding cities and communities. He’s enormously popular with his constituency.
Orange Coast College honored Jack at its 2006 commencement last May at the Pacific Amphitheatre, across the street from the campus. He received the college’s Outstanding Citizen Award.
“Always be open,” Sen. Scott told the students at the ceremony after receiving his award. “‘Way leads to way,’ as Robert Frost said. Orange Coast College has been a stepping-stone for you. Continue to learn, and commit yourself to lifelong learning. Even after college, involve yourself in reading, attending lectures and taking classes.”
It was quintessential Jack Scott. A serious academic and intellectual, he continues to stretch and grow in his own life as he approaches his 74th birthday this summer.
“I’m proud of you,” he concluded.
Jack was visibly touched by the OCC honor.
“Orange Coast College holds a special place in my heart,” he told the audience. “I began my career in community college education right here. Dr. Robert B. Moore hired me, and I lived just two blocks from this spot. I’m extremely pleased to accept this honor, and will treasure it all my life.”
You can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the boy.
Jack was born in Sweetwater, a small West Texas town where “life is sweet” and “football is king.” For the entirety of his life he has exhibited a delicious Texas brogue, an infectious laugh and a droll sense of humor. He earned his B.A. degree in religion at Abilene Christian University. He received a master of divinity from Yale University, and an M.A. degree and Ph.D. in history at Claremont Graduate School.
After pastoring a church in Hamden, Conn. for five years, Scott and his young family moved to Los Angeles in 1962. For nine years he served as an associate professor of religion and history at Pepperdine University. In 1963 he and his wife, Lacreta, and their three children took a trip around the world. For four months in 1970 he taught in Heidelberg, Germany.
From 1971-73, Jack was Pepperdine’s provost and dean of the college.
In 1973, at the age of 40, Dr. Scott responded to the Siren call of community college education. He left the private university setting to become vice president of instruction at Orange Coast College. He replaced Dr. James S. Fitzgerald, who assumed the presidency at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. Scott was hired by OCC’s president, Bob Moore.
Moore and Scott enjoyed a special relationship. Seventeen years his junior, Scott looked up to Moore as a role model and mentor. Moore saw Scott as a dynamic young leader and charismatic future spokesperson for community college education.
Jack and Lacreta moved to Costa Mesa from L.A. County and became neighbors of Bob and Pat Moore’s in Mesa del Mar, along with many other OCC administrators, faculty and staff members who called that neighborhood home.
“Bob was a great president and a wonderful human being,” Jack reflects. “I thoroughly enjoyed serving under him.”
Scott was in charge of Orange Coast College’s instructional program for five years. During that time, Lacreta taught English part-time at Golden West College. Jack and Lecreta pursued a love of bicycling together. In 1974, they took a bicycle trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. As I recall, they did a Seattle to Los Angeles run a year or two later.
In 1978, Scott was named president of Cypress College, and served in that capacity for nine years. He was named president of Pasadena City College in 1987 and served there until his retirement in 1995. After Scott left Pasadena, he became a distinguished professor of higher education at Pepperdine.
While at Pasadena, Jack initiated a 10-year, $100-million facilities master plan to rebuild or renovate a number of campus buildings. The project included a new Library and Media Services facility; a Physical Education/Athletics complex; a five-level, 2,000-space parking structure; a Community Education Center; and a Child Development Center.
During his tenure at Pasadena, Jack became one of the state’s leading – and most articulate – spokespersons for community colleges and their students. In 1993, he received the Harry Buttimer Award, given annually to two distinguished administrators in California community colleges.
Jack and I shared a 1993 experience that, frankly, rocked both of us to the core. We each lost a son. My son, Jim, died in April at the age of 25. Jack, very kindly, sent me a sympathy card, little knowing that his own son, Adam, would die several months later at 27. The deaths came unexpectedly, and we were both left pondering the unanswerables of life. OCC president, Dave Grant, and I attended Adam’s funeral in Pasadena.
Jack and I had a chance to talk on several occasions during our months of grieving. We realized during one conversation that Jim and Adam had attended Costa Mesa High School at the same time, though they were a couple of grades apart. We speculated, with some satisfaction, that they doubtless knew each other.
Scott was elected to the State Assembly in 1996 and served through 2000. During his tenure he had the highest legislative success rate in the Assembly of bills that were signed into law, with over 62 percent becoming law. He ran for the State Senate in 2000 and won the election handily with a margin of more than 50,000 votes. He tripled that victory margin four years later when he was reelected with 78 percent of the vote.
Sen. Scott serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Education, which considers all legislative issues dealing with K-12 education and the state’s colleges and universities. He is also chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, which oversees approximately 48 percent of California’s state budget.
Jack is a member of the Senate committees on Budget; Banking, Finance and Insurance; Revenue and Taxation; and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. He also chairs the Joint Committee on the Arts and serves on the State Allocation Board for Education.
A stalwart in his support of education, Jack has sponsored a bill for streamlining the transfer process for community college students, and a bill for creating a new funding system for California community colleges. He’s been named “Legislator of the Year” by five different educational organizations, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Community Colleges.
Also an accomplished writer, Scott’s book on John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was published by the University of Delaware Press in 1982. His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Pasadena Star-News, the Glendale News-Press, and national magazines.
Jack and Lacreta met while they were undergraduates at Abilene Christian College and have been married for 53 years. She is a retired member of the English faculty at Cerritos College. They have four children and 10 grandchildren.
Though his career has taken him to many thrilling and lofty heights, Jack Scott has not forgotten his Orange Coast College roots. This college is proud to claim him as its own! Nettie-Ann Loranger (1968-93)
Nettie-Ann Loranger referred to it as her "mid-life crisis."
On Aug. 31, 1993 – after 25 years at Orange Coast College as a student and secretary – she retired at the tender age of 51 and moved 380 miles east to a three-bedroom semi-custom home in Glendale, Ariz.
Nettie-Ann discovered Arizona in 1991 while on vacation, and immediately fell in love with the place.
"If there's such a thing as a prior life, I must have lived there," she told me a couple of weeks before her last day on the job. "I feel a strong affinity for the place.
"I decided, when it came time to retire, that I wanted to live there. I reached 50 last year and concluded that I didn't want to wait until I was 65 to go."
Though she found it a difficult thing to do, she submitted her retirement letter in the spring of ‘93.
"I have sometimes asked myself, 'Do you know what you're doing?'” she told me. “Why am I leaving...really? This is the only job I've ever known, and I have so many friends here. I guess I'm having a mid-life crisis!"
Nettie-Ann began her association with OCC in 1968 as a 26-year-old mother of two small daughters, ages five and six.
"My girls were both in school, so I decided to enroll in a couple of OCC classes and continue my education," she told me as she prepared to clean out her desk in 1993. "I had no idea that it would develop into a 25-year relationship."
A love affair, really.
During her second semester as a student at the college she popped her head into the athletic director's office and asked if there were any jobs available.
"I hadn't worked since my daughters were born, and I wanted to see if I could work again," she says.
"The athletic director, Wendell Pickens, told me that his student assistant had just quit. He asked me if I could start the next day. I said sure. It was the easiest job interview I ever had.
"Who would have thought I'd be here for 25 years? At the time, it didn't occur to me that I would sink my roots so deeply. I figured I'd be gone in a semester or two."
She worked as a student assistant for three semesters, then was hired in 1970 as the Athletic Department secretary. Because of limited funds, she worked 20 hours per week, 10 months per year. Later, the job was upgraded to 30 hours per week.
"I loved the job," she said. "I enjoyed working with the coaches and athletes."
One athlete who regularly popped in to say hello was lanky OCC right-handed pitcher, Dan Quisenberry. Quisenberry went on to fashion a highly successful 12-year Major League career as a relief pitcher with the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. He led the league in saves five times, was an all-star three times, and pitched in the World Series. Quisenberry was inducted into OCC's Alumni Hall of Fame. Tragically, he died in 1998 at the age of 45 of a brain tumor.
"Danny was really a sweet kid. I got to know a lot of the athletes. They were all great kids."
Nettie-Ann worked in the Athletic Department for 11 years, then applied for and secured a job in the college's Instructional Services Department.
"I wanted that job badly," she says. "It was a full-time, 12-month-per-year position."
The Instructional Services Department was responsible for updating OCC's catalog; scheduling classes each semester; taking care of personnel matters; and handling payroll.
During her 12 years in the department, Nettie-Ann advanced through a succession of positions, from intermediate typist clerk...to senior typist clerk...to secretary...to senior secretary. She concluded her tenure in 1993 as secretary to Dan Casey, administrative dean of instructional services.
Nettie-Ann left Orange Coast College with mixed emotions.
"I'm very excited about moving to Glendale, which is a suburb of Phoenix,” she told me. “This is going to be an adventure. I feel like I'm beginning the second half of my life.
"But I'm going to miss OCC terribly. I've found myself waxing philosophical lately."
Mostly, she knew she’d miss the people…and she has!
"I grew up here. Almost all of my friends have been here...literally hundreds and hundreds over the years." In the years since her retirement many Coast friends have visited her at her Glendale residence, and she’s returned to the campus on a number of occasions to say “hi.”
OCC was always more than just a place of employment for her. Nettie-Ann continued to take classes over the years as she worked at the college, particularly music courses.
"I really enjoyed my music classes," she said. "I sang in the college chorale, and even performed on stage in a couple of musicals. It was great fun."
Her two daughters, now grown and married, spent much of their early lives on campus. Both learned to swim in OCC's Summer Swim Program.
Her eldest daughter, JoAnn, is an Orange Coast graduate. JoAnn went on to earn a B.A. degree in international marketing, and has worked for the district for more than 15 years. She’s an accounting technician in the district’s Fiscal Operations and Accounting Department.
What are Nettie-Ann's fondest Coast memories?
"I remember the summer musicals very vividly," she said. "I love musical theater, and I used to come out every year to see the summer show.”
A sports fan who attended lots of football and basketball games over the years, she remembers braving rain, wind and fog for many games. One game, back in the late 1970s, stands out in particular. It was homecoming.
"At half time, one of OCC's coaches, who was also a world-class sky diver, was going to parachute from a plane and land at the 50-yardline. He was bringing the name of the winning homecoming queen candidate with him.
"This particular coach – who was a dear friend of mine, but who shall remain nameless – was an absolute egomaniac when it came to skydiving. He always had a big story to tell.
"Well, he jumped from the plane, but somehow misjudged things. We saw him sail right over the rim of the stadium and out of sight. He landed more than a quarter of a mile from the football field, in the agriculture department at Costa Mesa High School. Fortunately, the P.A. announcer knew the winning queen's name and announced it to the crowd.
"I took great pleasure in never letting the coach forget how far he'd missed the mark. We laughed about it for years."
Nettie-Ann saw many changes at Coast during her time on staff.
"This place grew up while I was here," she said as she prepared to retire. "I took a walk through the campus a week or so ago and did a lot of reminiscing.
"When you live here, day in and day out, you don't notice change so much. But, when you think back to the way things were, the changes are dramatic. I'm really proud of this place. It's a beautiful campus.”
It has changed even more since her departure. But, haven’t we all! Art Martinez (1969-85)
Dr. Art Martinez
Recently, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, Orange Coast College honored the nine people who have served as its president since the institution’s founding in 1947.
You might remember the names: Dr. Basil H. Peterson, Dr. Norman E. Watson, Dr. Robert B. Moore, Dr. Bernard J. Luskin, Dr. Donald R. Bronsard, David A. Grant, Margaret A. Gratton, Gene J. Farrell and Robert V. Dees.
But what about Dr. Samuel Arthur Martinez?
Art Martinez served as OCC’s president for one year, 1984-85, between the regimes of Luskin and Bronsard. And he was a darned good administrator!
Officially, he was interim president from July ’84 through June of ‘85. He was a candidate for permanent president but didn’t land the job. It was a shame. He was well-liked and appreciated by students and staff members.
Born in San Gabriel and raised in El Monte, Art graduated from El Monte Union High School. He studied at East Los Angeles College and Pasadena City College before earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture at Kansas State University. He picked up a master’s degree at LaVerne College, and completed a doctorate in education at the University of Southern California.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and remained in the Army Reserve for more than 30 years, attaining the rank of colonel.
Art was owner of his own successful Corona del Mar architectural firm for more than a decade. He designed the UC Irvine Bookstore, the concession building at Laguna Niguel Regional Park, and the El Modena Community Center in Orange. He also helped to design the South Coast Village Shopping Center in Santa Ana.
Martinez was hired by OCC president, Dr. Robert B. Moore, in 1969 to teach architecture and environmental planning. He was an experienced 38-year-old professional.
“I realized that I was not making enough of an impact on the community (as an architect), and felt that I had a lot to share with young people who seemed lost,” he told a reporter in 1984.
On a whim, Art dropped by OCC’s campus in the spring of 1969. Unannounced, he asked to speak with the college president. Bob Moore, who happened to have a break in his schedule, ushered him into his office for a 15-minute chat. The conversation lasted 90 minutes and, at the end, Moore offered Martinez a job. Art began teaching at Coast the following September.
“I never regretted that decision,” he said later. “I discovered that teaching is one of life’s most rewarding and worthwhile professions.”
With a big smile on his face and an outgoing, gregarious personality, the tall and lanky architect soon knew almost every staff member on campus. He greeted male colleagues with a hearty handshake, or an arm around the shoulder. Females he greeted with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. That was the Art Martinez way. No one was offended.
In 1975 he was named assistant chair of OCC’s Technology Division.
Art left Orange Coast in 1976 to become a founding administrator at Coastline Community College. He was associate dean of instruction, and worked for Coastline president, Dr. Bernie Luskin, whom he later succeeded as Orange Coast College’s president.
In the spring of 1984, Luskin announced his resignation as OCC’s CEO. He was on his way to Washington, D.C. to become vice president of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Martinez was one of 13 district employees to apply for the one-year interim post.
Art assumed the new assignment on July 1, 1984. He was 53. Bernie lingered for the better part of a month to assist with the transition.
“I’m very excited,” Martinez told the media on Wednesday evening, June 21, following the board’s announcement of his selection. “This is a definite fulfillment of a personal goal. I have the opportunity to take on a great challenge in a highly regarded district with a substantial impact on the educational system.”
“The decision was unanimous,” board president, Conrad Nordquist, said after the meeting. “There was no dissension among any board members.”
Art returned to the campus and was greeted by handshakes and hugs galore.
“Coast has a great reputation as being one of the best community colleges in the nation,” Martinez told a reporter during his first week on the job. “I don’t want to change that, just build on it.”
Then he stuck his big toe into the roiling political waters.
“Recently there has been tension between some of the administration and the faculty and I hope to mend and repair the fault lines that exist because of the conflicts. The best resources of Coast are not the buildings or the grounds but the humans that are a part of the campus: the students, the faculty and the administration.”
The district began its national search for a permanent president several weeks later.
Art took pride in his upbringing and heritage. He often told me stories of his childhood. He came from a Mexican-American family that didn’t possess a great deal when it came to material possessions, but was richly endowed with familial love and devotion, and a strong underpinning of Christian values. He felt he was stronger because of his somewhat hardscrabble upbringing.
“I’m very proud of my Hispanic heritage – I like to flaunt it,” he told a reporter. “It’s a great experience to be bilingual and to work in various sectors of the community.”
He was involved with a host of community agencies and organizations.
As president, Art was a PR director’s dream. Magnetic and brimming with energy, he loved to meet the public and to talk with the media. During his first few months on the job as interim president I accompanied him to service club meetings and luncheons with reporters. His charm disarmed even the crustiest, most cynical reporter.
He was candid, too.
“I’m not going to try to pull the wool over your eyes or snow you,” he once told a veteran reporter. “You can count on me to be honest and straightforward. I’ll answer your questions…and I won’t avoid or sidestep the tough ones.”
Art Martinez was a healer, and he got out on campus daily and interacted with all factions and constituencies. The political climate at the college following the layoffs of 1984 was tense, but those tensions began to ease during his reign. The power of his personality prevailed. A “people person,” you could tell he was having the time of his life.
Late in the fall of ’84 he submitted his application for the permanent presidency. He had his heart set on the post. Many faculty and staff members supported his candidacy, but it was not to be. In the spring of 1985 he was informed that the selection committee had eliminated him from contention.
“I think I did well,” he confided to me in his office one afternoon. “I can’t explain it.” He was clearly stunned, but he continued to do his job…very well.
Art served out his term and was replaced by the new permanent president, Dr. Donald R. Bronsard, on July 1, 1985.
Martinez left Coast and became an associate vice president at Chapman University. Later, he started his own business in the Midwest, and retired in 1990. In the fall of ‘90, he returned to OCC to teach architecture classes for a faculty member who was out on sick leave.
“I love it,” he told me when I visited his classroom one afternoon. “It’s fun to be back, even if only for a short while.”
Art, the eternal optimist! Nothing ever got him down…at least not for long! He would have loved to have been OCC’s permanent president but that wasn’t in the cards. He didn’t become angry or bitter. Had he done that, he wouldn’t have been Art Martinez.
He was a prince of a guy!
WE GET LETTERS….
Just by chance, I found the article you wrote in Coast to Coast (“Richard Raub: Respected by Musicians and Critics the World Over,” Orange Slices, April 26). Frankly, I don't know what to say. I am flattered, honored, humbled. And stunned! It is such a glowing retrospective I'm thinking that's not really me.
Thanks so much for your kind words. I am heartened to be reminded that many of our students profited from our studies together; even more, that many continue their musical activity and have an enjoyable time at it.
All I can think of at this point is how great a joy it was to teach among some of the best college professors in the state. So many are deserving of like praise.
I hope to see you on May 18, as Connie and I will be attending the Emeritus Institute luncheon. I anticipate seeing many friends that day.
OCC Music Professor (1970-93)