A PUBLICATION OF THE COCHISE COLLEGE FOUNDATION
AN ANCieNT RiTuAl ReviSiTeD Page 6
BOARD PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Dear Supporters of Cochise College, Since Cochise College opened its doors in the 1960s, the Cochise College Foundation has taken much pride in its work with donors. Over the years, that work has resulted in a wide array of projects that have moved the college forward. Our first gift was $50,000 in proceeds from the sale of an Illinois farm owned by the widow of a Phelps Dodge employee. In our early years, we sponsored a matching funds program that resulted in the construction of the Douglas Campus rodeo grounds. In the 1970s, we raised more than $50,000 – about half of the money needed – to construct an anthropological resource center. In the 1980s, we were awarding more than $45,000 in scholarships and receiving more property donations. Before the close of the 1990s, the foundation was part of a community campaign to build a new education center in Benson; this included the donation of a scenic piece of property on which the center now sits. And, in the 2000s, the foundation raised funds to match a Title V grant and also received a major bequest that resulted in the Margaret Kent STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Pathways Scholarship fund. The foundation also now awards, on average, more than $350,000 in scholarships annually. The foundation has contributed and grown significantly over the years, and now we are looking at ways to take our work to the next level. As you’ll see in this issue, we have added some new board members and are doing more to reach out to donors. Last month, board members joined with the Governing Board and staff in a collaborative meeting to consider the future of the college and the foundation, and the roles various individuals play in moving projects forward. As a board member who has served for nearly 20 years, I am proud of all the foundation has accomplished and excited about all that is yet to come. Together, the foundation, donors and volunteers have and will continue to help shape countless lives through education. Thank you, again, for your ongoing support of student success.
Chuck Chambers Board President Cochise College Foundation
Board Officers Charles Chambers, President Yolanda Anderson, Vice President Cindy Hayostek, Secretary Mark Battaglia, J.D., Treasurer Board Members Shirley Gregory Jan Guy Karen L. Justice Gene Manring Dan Rehurek, Ph.D. Linda R. Staneart Bob Strain Ruben Teran, J.D. Ex-Officio Members J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D. (ex-officio) Honorary Members Marsha Arzberger Cochise College Foundation Staff Denise Merkel, Executive Director Sheila Selby, Foundation Coordinator Carmen Moreno, Student Aide Accolade is published by the Cochise College Foundation, 4190 W. Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607. (520) 417-4100 Writing Denise Merkel Design Rick Whipple Photography Stephen Crout Denise Merkel Cathy Murphy Rick Whipple Printing/Mailing Keith Ringey Carol Riggs Juan Zozaya The Cochise College Foundation promotes student success through scholarships, facilities development, and program support. By supporting Cochise College, the Foundation endeavors to increase the college's accessibility to our diverse and changing communities.
FROM THE COCHISE COLLEGE PRESIDENT We all know the story of the king’s jewels, which were protected and showcased because of their irreplaceable value. Many of us, from board volunteers to faculty and staff members and students, feel that way about Cochise College. Cochise County – and many of your lives and ours – would be fundamentally different without this gem of higher education. We will go to great lengths to protect, perfect, refine and flaunt it. However, doing those things has become a little more challenging in the current economy. Historically, Arizona community colleges have been funded in three ways: by a local property tax levy, now capped with allowable increases of 2 percent annually plus new construction; state aid, which, at the time of this writing, was being reduced by more than 50 percent; and tuition and fees. An exhibit at the Sierra Vista Campus celebrates the contemporary Native American art collection of Larry Brazaskas (’66).
CONTEMPORARY ART COLLECTION ON DISPLAY A collection of contemporary Native American arts and crafts given to the college by Larry Brazaskas (’66) is now on display in the Andrea Cracchiolo Library on the Sierra Vista Campus. Larry played baseball at Cochise College from 1964 until 1966. He transferred to the University of Las Vegas, where he was an all-time letterman. He worked as a casino dealer and as a realtor in Las Vegas. He also acquired a collection of modern Native American arts and crafts, including kachinas, metal sculptures, baskets, and more, that he left to Cochise College upon his death in July 2008. Some of the pieces and the artists who made them are depicted in books about Native American art that are also featured with the exhibit. In March, the Friends of the Library hosted an opening and reception that was attended by Father Bob Brazaskas, Larry’s brother, as well as other friends, students, faculty and staff. The collection may be seen during regular library hours and in the future will be moved to other college locations so that those around the county also may see it.
With a cap on property taxes and significant cuts in state funding, the college recently opted to raise tuition by $9 per credit hour for in-state students. Despite this increase, our tuition remains average among the state’s colleges. At the same time, there is a push at the national level for colleges to improve completion rates. A fulltime student expecting to complete an associate’s degree within two years will enroll in 16 credits each semester and pay approximately $3,600 annually for tuition, fees, books and supplies. As we work through these challenging times, you may see some changes at the college in the coming years. Our strategic priorities are to focus on our competitive advantages – those things we do better than anyone else; excellence and doing things exceptionally or not at all; and “everything speaks,” a college-wide effort to ensure that everything about “the jewel of Cochise County” sends a positive and consistent message. Our budget priorities are to focus on things that are student centered, employee friendly and future focused. Your support of Cochise College and its mission of providing accessible higher education has never been more important. We anticipate a greater need for scholarships, as well as a need for the college to provide exceptional learning spaces and educational opportunities across the district. Much work has been done through our master facilities plan, but space needs remain, and some facilities are functional but outdated. While the college is financially well-positioned, we look to you, our donors, to help take us where we’ve never been before. We need your help to ensure the jewel of Cochise County is shined, polished and re-engineered so that we can continue to carry out the vision of our founders and fundamentally, and positively, change the county and the people that we serve.
J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D. President Cochise College firstname.lastname@example.org
FOUNDATION ADDS NEW BOARD MEMBERS The Cochise College Foundation board is expanding its reach in Sierra Vista and recently added two new members. Bob Strain, former Sierra Vista mayor, brings a wealth of contacts and a varied background with the military, contracting and public service to the board. In addition to serving 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, Strain has served on the Sierra Vista City Council; chaired the Upper San Pedro Partnership Advisory Commission; served as president of the Sierra Vista EcoBob Strain nomic Development Foundation board of directors; and worked as an arbitrator and mediator for the Cochise County Superior Court. He also previously served as associate faculty in economics at Cochise College. Gene Manring, a former member of the college Governing Board, joined the foundation board in March. A long-time resident of Sierra Vista, Manring retired as a troop commander from the U.S. Army at Fort Huachuca and has been a volunteer for the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center Foundation, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, the Arizona Gene Manring Supreme Court Foster Care Review Board, and the Cochise County Foster Care Review Board. Previously, he was director of the Dispute Resolution Program for Cochise County Superior Court and worked with the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Advisory Committee, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, and as executive director of the Chapman University campus in Sierra Vista and the Greater Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce. At its November meeting, the foundation accepted the resignation of Harry Chambers, a Sierra Vista-area resident who had served for many years. Chambers, who has a background in the financial sector, provided leadership in the areas of financial management and fundraising. The board presented Chambers with a plaque recognizing his service at its February meeting.
Prior to resigning from the foundation board, Harry Chambers, center, served on the Finance Committee with Linda Staneart and Mark Battaglia.
TALK TO JOE Are you a former Cochise College employee or student who’d like to get in touch with a familiar face? Do you know of other former students who would be interested in knowing what’s going on at Cochise College? Dr. Joe Gilliland is looking for you! Gilliland, who began teaching at the college in 1964, retired to parttime teaching, and earned the title of faculty emeritus, is back next semester, leading students through Major American Writers and Introduction to Philosophy. When he’s not talking about the humanities, he wants to chat – or email with former employees and students about Cochise College, his favorite subject, hands down. In advance of the college’s 50th anniversary in 2014, Gilliland is collecting contact information and stories about the impact Cochise College has had on the lives of individuals who worked and studied here. Through his work, Gilliland has touched thousands of lives, and he’d like to know where you are now! Get in touch with Joe at email@example.com.
ALL-ARIZONA STUDENTS NAMED COCA-COLA SCHOLARS Two of the four Cochise College sophomores who were named to the All-Arizona Academic Teams in February also have been recognized as Coca-Cola Scholars. The Cochise College Foundation provided a total of $3,500 in scholarships to All-Arizona First Team members Staci Smith, Huachuca City, and Ellen Whitehead, McNeal, and AllArizona Second Team members Ajaa Jackson, Sierra Vista, and Adayr Martinez, Douglas. Each also received a tuition waiver to complete their bachelor’s degree at one of Arizona’s public universities.
Ellen Whitehead presents information about hate groups and prejudice at local schools. She has been accepted into the University of Arizona Honors College.
Staci Smith prepares labs in the Science Department at the Sierra Vista Campus.
Smith and Whitehead were later named Coca-Cola silver and bronze scholars, an honor for which they received additional scholarship money and appeared with other Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team members in an April edition of USA Today. The program is sponsored by the CocaCola Foundation. To qualify, applicants need to have a grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Smith, a silver scholar, is the daughter of Cochise College ESL Instructor Curt Smith and Margaret Smith, who also takes courses. A math major who also tutors in the Sierra Vista Campus Writing Lab and works in the science lab, she grew up thinking of the college as her second home. Because she was home schooled, she began her studies at Cochise at the age of 15, when she enrolled in language, advanced math, and lab science courses. Smith is involved with Bisbee’s Obscure Productions community theater, in which she conducted an honors project to interpret plays for the deaf and ultimately brought deaf actors to the stage.
Whitehead is studying sociology and plans to pursue a master’s degree and become a professor at a university or community college. While attending school full time, she also serves as co-manager of her family’s ranch. She chose to attend Cochise College because it served as a stepping stone from being home schooled to a university. Whitehead was recently accepted into the Honors College at the University of Arizona. Jackson, of Sierra Vista, is a computer science major who also is president of the Sierra Vista Campus Student Government Association, is active in honors programs at the college, serving as fundraising officer of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at the Sierra Vista Campus and organizing an alternative spring break project to clean up a portion of the city. She plans to work as a systems analyst.
Martinez is a business administration major who was recently admitted to the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. He graduated from Douglas High School and enrolled in the college English as a Second Language program, earning an associate degree earlier this year and serving as president of the Douglas Campus Student Government Association. His goal is to work as an economist for the U.S. Government.
The Cochise College Art Department has always been a draw for community members casually enrolling in classes. Individuals from degree-seeking fine arts majors to a host of retirees satisfying their creative fix have enrolled in classes, particularly at the Douglas Campus. But a major art extravaganza, now entering its fifth year, is drawing renewed attention to the department, and ceramics in particular, and energizing the campus each fall as hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members gather to witness the unique results that form on pottery using primitive pit-firing techniques. In October, the fourth annual Pit Fire Festival at the Douglas Campus featured an enormous serpentine pit filled with ceramics pieces created by students and faculty. Pyrotechnic theater troupe Flam Chen put on a dazzling spectacle; there was live music by Bisbee musicians; the Cochise College Culinary Arts Department served soup and other items; there was a ceramics demonstration and sale by the potters of Mata Ortiz, Mexico, as well as exhibitions of graffiti art, caricatures, and an invisible circus; and exhibits by college
Photos by Stephen Crout and Cathy Murphy
departments in the areas of agriculture and rodeo, nursing, student services, and welding. Each of the past two years, art faculty members Tate Rich and Stephen Crout have collaborated on a documentary about the Cochise College Art Department that features the pit fire as the continuance of a tradition that began thousands of years ago and brought prehistoric communities together around a common cause. “People lived here for thousands of years,” says Rich, who joined the college in 2005 and enthusiastically set out to engage more people in the arts. “This event, and these methods, are built on tradition.” Preparation and dismantling of the fire takes several days and much coordination. Once the pit is dug, it is filled with the ceramics pieces and covered with burn materials, rebar, and wooden pallets. Stages, equipment, and tables are set up; various academic departments contribute everything from welded signs to food; and local fire departments are present at the event. Afterward, hundreds of pieces are removed from the pit, with the best delivered to Bisbee’s Sam Poe Gallery, which hosts a reception and exhibit. “One thing I like about the pit fire is how many people’s art is in there,” says singer-songwriter Dylan Charles, whose band has performed at the event. “It’s symbolic of the community project that it is. There is a piece of my soul in every piece (of music) I create. There are pieces of everyone’s souls in that fire together, igniting and bonding.” Details about the 2011 pit fire will be available at a later date.
Art Department Fund Students and faculty in the Art Department host pre-holiday ceramics sales on both the Douglas and Sierra Vista campuses each year to raise money in support of their program. Additionally, pit fire organizers this year will consider ways to keep the event open to the community while also generating contributions to the Art Department Fund.
film) and Tate Rich (ceramics, sculpture). Crout earned a bachelor of arts in film and television, critical studies, from the University of Southern California. He also works freelance photography and filmmaking jobs throughout the southwestern U.S., and some of his work can be seen on vimeo.com. In 2004, along with a fellow USC alum, he created CoOp Art Gallery (coopgalleries.org) for student and emerging artists and musicians.
In recent years, charitable gifts to the fund have helped with the purchase of student lockers and a spray booth. The fund also has provided emergency scholarships for art students.
Rich joined Cochise College in 2005 and spearheaded the first Pit Fire Festival in May 2007, when it was scheduled to correspond with Beltane, an ancient holiday celebrating the end of winter and the coming of summer and a plentiful harvest. He earned a bachelor of arts from Saint John’s University and a master of arts and a master of fine arts from California State University. He chairs the Bisbee Arts Commission.
Additional gifts may be used to support the department in other ways, for example, to purchase additional equipment or supplies, enhance art classrooms, bring special programs to the college, or in support of faculty development. Contact the Cochise College Foundation at (520) 417-4100 for more information about supporting the Art Department Fund.
“Confluence of Community,” the documentary about the third annual pit fire that took place in fall 2009, can be viewed on vimeo.com or on the college website by clicking Academics, Departments, and then Fine Arts. The second documentary will be available soon.
Documentary The third and fourth annual pit fires were featured in two documentary films created by Art Department faculty members Stephen Crout (digital video production, imaging and
FACULTY SELECTED TO ATTEND NISOD CONFERENCE Cochise College has selected three faculty members to receive the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award, an honor that comes with a trip to the 33rd annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence. The conference is part of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Faculty and staff are selected for outstanding service to students, their department, the college, and the community.
Technology has significantly changed many things in higher education. Dan Guilmette, left, teaches computer information systems and game design, George Self is director of the program that offers online classes, and Trevor Smith helps students find online library resources.
Dan Guilmette After working as an associate faculty member in computer information systems, Dan Guilmette was hired as a fulltime instructor in 2003. He developed the information security program, worked on the networking program, and wrote the curriculum for a new computer gaming program to give students more choices. He is the advisor for the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) sub-chapter; represents the department at orientation, at school and community functions, and on college committees; and he works closely with associate faculty. Guilmette also spearheads the Computer Challenge, which brings hundreds of students and community volunteers to the campus annually. “Dan is an outstanding instructor and is very dedicated to the CIS Department, the college, and our students,” said Clyne Namuo, department chair, and Cathy Carrillo, administrative assistant, in nominating him. “If we need a project done, he is the person we go to because we know he will accomplish the task.”
George Self As director of the Online Campus, George Self is the designated “computer guru,” introducing innovative software and specialized systems and helping others learn how to use it. Self offers professional development workshops, faculty in-service breakout sessions, and WebStudy training, and serves as a respected resource for individuals across the district who have technical questions or who are seeking assistance with training needs. Self was among the first to teach in a learning community, he has expanded the diversity of the college’s online courses, and he helped to create various tutorials and worked with the ADA office to write captions for movies shown in classrooms in order to help deaf students. “George cares deeply for students and facilitates their education through providing optimum online service,” said the group of colleagues who nominated him. “His motto is ‘Help is only a phone call away.’ He means this. Whenever there is a problem or a need, he is responsive, even if he is on vacation. George’s outlook on lifelong learning and education is an inspiration to everyone.”
Trevor Smith Trevor Smith, reference and systems librarian, has a way of making everything look easy. His knowledge base, technical skills, and rapport with others make him a highly-sought resource when it comes to research and programming. He revamped the library/instructional media services web pages and writes and manages the script to load the college class schedule from Banner to Meeting Room Manager and to digital sign boards. Smith has participated in the college leadership program, strategic planning task force, assessment committee, program development committee, sustainability committee and Fort Huachuca accreditation committee. He teaches Linux classes for Cochise. Teaching online for the University of Arizona Library School helps keeps his finger on the pulse of the library world and of the new library science students. “He is willing to jump in anywhere he’s needed on the library/IMS team, from sorting book donations in hot, dusty trailers to working the Help Desk and maintaining the libraries’ servers,” said his colleagues in nominating him. “All of his experiences provide him a realistic perception and expectation of and for our students.”
NEWS OF ALUMNI & FRIENDS Jim Adams (’94) is vice president for global security for Thompson-Wimmer, Inc., a government contractor based in Sierra Vista. He earned his associate’s degree while working for the Sierra Vista Police Department, earned his bachelor’s degree in 2005, and recently retired as commander of the Special Operations Bureau. • Gerald Richard Burton (’95, ‘97) of Maryland is senior systems engineer for Data Systems Analysts, Inc. • Bob Ellis (’68), who pursued a career in law enforcement and taught law enforcement for Yavapai College and the Northern Arizona (Police) Training Academy while working as training coordinator for the Prescott Police Department, has retired. • Mike Fitch (’76) is the clinical director with Southwest Network, which serves people with serious mental illnesses in Maricopa County. After graduating from Cochise College, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University, worked with the Division of Developmental Disabilities for 16 years and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology at Northern Arizona University.
Edie Guild (’99) is a registered nurse in the Sierra Vista area. In addition to her nursing degree, she also earned three certificates from Cochise College in 1995, 1996 and 1997. • In October, Drs. Charles and Claudia LaClair, both faculty emeriti, celebrated the birth of their first grandchild to son Chip (’99) and Audrey LaClair in Yorktown, Va. • As of January, Darris Richardson (’97) had completed the U.S. Army’s Warrant Officer Candidate School and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His first book of collected short stories and poems, “Grab Hold the Dust: Stories and Poems,” was published in November. • Paul Workman (’02) graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in political science from Metro State College of Denver and in 2007 with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado at Denver. He has worked as a city planner for the City of Commerce City, Colo., for three years.
Share your news and updates at www.cochise.edu/alumni or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RETIRING The Cochise College Governing Board recently approved the retirements of the following individuals. • Ralph Hooten, an electronics instructor in the Correctional Education Division, will retire in June. • Bob Howell, vice president for human resources, will retire in August after eight years with the college. • Jim Lively retired in February from his position as lead teacher in the Douglas Adult Education program. • Dr. Doris Jensen, dean of fine arts, education and health sciences, will retire in June. • Jim Martin, math instructor at the Sierra Vista Campus, retired in May. • Maria (Rowena) Moreno retired in February after 25 years with the college, last working as an administrative assistant in the Languages/Social & Behavioral Sciences Department. • Chuck Perry, chief flight instructor for many years, will retire in June. • Cheryl (Sherry) Sims, coordinator of online technologies for the Online Campus, retired in February after having worked in various departments. • Emilie Vardaman, English and reading instructor at the Douglas Campus, plans to retire in August.
FROM OUR READERS
Dear Accolade, The picture on your back cover of the Fall 2010 Accolade is Alvina Hoyack and me having sponges tossed in our faces by the students and faculty/staff. We volunteered for Apache Days (now Springfest). Alvina and I were young employees at the time, and we volunteered for almost all events that happened around campus. I’m guessing the year to be around 1985/86 or earlier; I started working for the college in 1983. Great picture and awesome memories of the good ol’ days! Thanks! Stella Martin (’83) Administrative Assistant, Student Development Center Cochise College, Douglas Campus
Dear Accolade, Imagine my surprise when we received the latest issue of Accolade and I saw me and Stella Martin on the "Remember When?" page. The photo was taken during a Spring Fling. We got involved in a lot of different activities. Remember flag football and softball? The employee team played against the student teams. Ray Willcox, Tom Fitch, Bill Michalek, Steve Thrasher, Bo Hall, Terry Ortiz, Carmen Morales, Ana Louisa Munoz Salcido, and Tom Bohmfalk, just to name a few. Bea Guerrero was our cheerleader. If I remember correctly, we had an AWESOME team. I worked in financial aid for 17 years, from April 1981 to June 1993, and from July/August 1994 to February 1999. I have many fond memories of Cochise College; that's where I met my husband! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Alvina Munoz Hoyack (’81) Douglas, Ariz.
NEW FUNDS The Santa Cruz County Community College PAC Scholarship awarded one scholarship to a student from that area attending Cochise College. • The Classified Association Scholarship fund provides assistance to full- and part-time sophomores attending Cochise College. The Classified Association Fund provides assistance in support of public relations activities of Cochise College classified employees. • The Eternax Renewable Energy Program Fund is being used to purchase a 1Kw instructional panel set-up, as well as textbooks, test equipment, and/or panels for renewable energy instruction. • The Remember Your Fan Kendra Athletic Scholarship, named in memory of the daughter of long-time Athletic Department administrative assistant Kris Baumgartner and her husband Rory, provides emergency scholarships for student athletes. • The Estelle L. Mountcastle Memorial Scholarship will provide assistance for nursing students. • The German American Club Scholarship will assist a student demonstrating an interest in or connection to Germany. • The Julia Houston Arias Memorial Scholarship will assist minorities studying education or art. • The Paula Chaffin Masten Memorial Scholarship will provide a scholarship for a graduating Buena High School senior.
WAYS TO GIVE Donor contributions help provide thousands of dollars in scholarships and program support each year. You can help support these and other college activities in a variety of ways. Establish an Annual or Endowed Fund • Planned Gifts • Personal Property Real Estate • Cash and Pledges • Matching Gifts Check our website to give online, or contact us at (520) 417-4100 to determine an appropriate use for your gift.
Correction The man in this photo, which appeared on page 5 of the fall 2010 Accolade, was misidentified as former faculty member Larry Gunter. The picture is of former Cochise College President Jack Netcher.
In April, Holocaust survivor Henry Kellen visited the Douglas Campus for a memorial and dedication spearheaded by students and faculty who have traveled to visit him at the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center. More than 1,100 students have made the trip during the 11 years that faculty member Dave Pettes has been leading them. The trips have inspired the development of the course Perspectives on the Holocaust, as well as a number of individual honors projects by students. Last fall, students collected pennies to help dedicate an exhibit at the El Paso museum in honor of Pettes. In addition, a Holocaust Memorial Scholarship has been offered for several semesters and is available to students enrolling in the course.
OUR MISSION Cochise College provides accessible educational opportunities that are responsive to a diverse population and lead to constructive citizenship, meaningful careers and lifelong learning. The Cochise College Foundation promotes student success through scholarships, facilities development, and program support.
Friends of Diane Freund, a respected local author and co-founder of the Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration, established a fund in her memory this year. Freund passed away in October, and the 13th annual celebration, held in March, was dedicated in her memory. The celebration brings published authors to Cochise College and gives participants – both students and community members – the chance to practice hands-on writing skills, gain feedback from professionals, and ask questions. The primary purpose of the Diane E. Freund Memorial Creative Writing Celebration Scholarship fund is to help students attend the celebration; it covered the registration for 16 students this year. Contributions to the fund continue to be accepted and may also be used to help with the costs associated with putting on the event.
FoRMeR CoACH NAMeD FACulTy eMeRiTuS College pitching standout, major league recruit, high school championship team coach, golf professional and golf course designer all describe Dick Atkinson. Luckily for Cochise College, so do division chair and head baseball coach. This year, Atkinson was recognized as faculty emeritus, an honor for faculty members who have retired from full-time teaching after more than 15 years of significant meritorious contributions to the instructional process. Atkinson joined the college in 1966 as head baseball coach and instructor in the health, physical education and recreation (HPER) program. It was the same year he took the Bisbee High School baseball team to a state championship. Previously, Atkinson pitched a shut-out in the NCAA College World Series and played seven seasons of professional baseball. At the University of Missouri, he was heavily recruited by seven major-league teams, and he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing several weeks with the major club and later in the minor leagues. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Pittsburg State University, Atkinson went into high school teaching and coaching and earned a master’s in physical education at Kansas State University. When a friend called about a baseball job at Bisbee High School, Atkinson’s background was impressive enough for him to be hired over the phone. Atkinson insisted on classroom achievement for his players; he advocated for players with all levels of talent, and his Cochise teams consistently had high graduation rates. He served on the college’s Academic Council and as director of intramurals, director of athletics, and division chair for HPER. Atkinson is proudest of the work he did to unite the college and local communities by providing physical education classes in businesses and other external facilities, a practice that continues to generate traffic for the college and local enterprises today. “That put me to work in Sierra Vista and gave me a refreshing new outlook,” Atkinson says. He’s also proud of helping prepare players for the university and professional level, including one who went to Stanford University and is now a lawyer in Boston. After taking early retirement from the college in 1991, Atkinson turned his attention to the Senior PGA Tour. He made it into the national qualifying tournament and played some senior qualifiers but found the tour expensive and rich in talent. In the meantime, he was asked to assist at Turquoise Valley Golf Course in Naco. He helped run tournaments, oversaw the junior golf program, and designed the back nine, a project that serves every level of golfer. It opened in 1999 and is featured in “Arizona’s Greatest Golf Courses,” by Bill Huffman. Atkinson golfs regularly and has continued to teach as associate faculty in physical education for the past 20 years. “Thirty years after he initiated contact with the managers of recreational and fitness facilities, the district physical education program remains viable and thriving,” said Norman Bates, who nominated Atkinson for faculty emeritus. “His longevity and contributions to the college fully merit his recognition.”
Photo by Rick Whipple
REMEMBER WHEN...? Numerous members of the Cochise College Alumni Facebook page commented when we posted this photo there last year. Alum Melodee Cooper found the picture in the 1973 Mirage and identiﬁed some of those pictured as, left to right, Myrtle Bagwell, Sheila Thiel, Gail Henry, Colleen Remington, unknown, and Debbie Segovia. Can you help with identiﬁcation or do you have contact information for these former students?
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Published on May 13, 2011