Thirty Faculty Members Retire After Devoting a Total of 829 Years to Saddleback!

The faculty of Saddleback College are a select and distinguished group of individuals who have committed themselves to one of the most valued and revered professions.  Respected for their commitment to academic pursuits and higher education, our faculty are well known throughout our community and are cherished on our campus for their academic achievements and enduring dedication to our students.

This is a bitter sweet time of year, as we say good-bye to our retiring faculty who have often spent decades at Saddleback College, committing themselves to their students and the continuous improvement of their programs.  These faculty, who have been elevated to the status of professor emeritus, will be missed for their many contributions to our college.

Together, the following retiring faculty have spent a total of 829 years of full-time teaching at Saddleback College, with many spending additional years as associate faculty, administrators, and classified staff :

Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science
Zane Johnson, Horticulture, 36 years
Ken Patton, RapidTech Center, 10 years

Division of Counseling Services and Special Programs
Jo Ann Alford, 26 years
Pete Espinosa, 31 years
Miki Mikolajczak, 31 years

Division of Business Science and Economic & Workforce Development
Walter DeAguero, Accounting, 27 years
Carolyn Gillay, Computer Information Management, 27 years
Linda Newell, Business, 20 years

Emeritus Institute
Claudia Cline,  Physical Education, 22 years

Division of Fine Arts and Media Technology
Patrick Fennel, Theater Arts, 32 years
Terry Newman, Music, 35 years (with five additional years as a part-time instructor)

Division of Health Sciences and Human Services
Alda Babusek, Nursing, 32 years
Barbara Belyea, Nursing, 29 years
Ginny Giguere, Nursing, 31 years
Susan Nawa-Raridon, Nursing, 27 years
Danuta Zakrzewski, Nursing, 32 years

Division of Kinesiology and Athletics
Nancy Besette, Health Education, 35 years
John Hodges, Kinesiology and Baseball Coach, 22 years

Division of Liberal Arts and Learning Resources
Cheryl Altman, Reading, 22 years
Brenda Bruno, English, 25 years
Petrina Friede, German, 32 years
Jill Lagatta, Reading, 6 years
Jeanne Mazique, English, 21 years
Mike Reed, Journalism, 26 years
Kathleen Smith, ESL, 21 years

Division of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering
Christina Carol, Computer Science, 30 years
Robert Parsons, Physics, 43 years
William Summers, Mathematics, 26 years
Kazumitsu (Kaz) Tarui, Mathematics, 31 years

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Bob Ferguson, Psychology, 41 years

Saddleback College’s Class of 2011 Graduates!

ASG President Melissa Fenerci, Board President Nancy Padberg, College President Burnett

Saddleback College recognized its 1,472 graduates and 981 certificate of achievement  recipients on Friday, May 20th at its annual commencement ceremony.  The event featured the traditional processional and reading of graduates’ names, along with Commencement Speaker and Alumna of the Year Frances Dilorinzo, a comedienne and writer who appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  Also featured was Commencement Student Speaker Justin Huft, a graduate who is transferring this fall to UC Irvine.

Students participating in commencement are candidates for Associate in Arts and Science degrees and certificates of achievement.  More than 2,000 students will also be transferring to four-year colleges and universities to continue studying for their baccalaureate degrees.  This year’s graduates will be transferring to four-year institutions such as USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, San Diego State University, and Arizona State University, among others.

Of the students who graduated from Saddleback College this year, 346 received honors, including 31 summa cum laude (4.0 grade point average), 125 magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.99 grade point average) and 190 cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 grade point average).  Showing the diverse range of ages at the college, the youngest graduate is 17 years of age, and the

most senior graduate is 71 years of age.  Eighty-five graduates are under the age of 20 and 73 graduates are over the age of 55.

Congratulations Class of 2011!


First Graduate of Medical Laboratory Technician Program is also a Veteran

During Friday’s commencement, Jim Curtella, a Veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, was the first Saddleback College student to receive his Associate of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Technician. Curtella successfully completed the MLT program, which was state approved in December of 2009, with an overall GPA of 3.37. Curtella, a Lake Forest resident, plans to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science.

A member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 2004-2008, including a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Curtella says he came to Saddleback because it was close, but stayed because of the MLT program and the support that veterans receive.

“I knew I wanted go into the health care field and Professor Scott Tharpe’s description of the MLT program intrigued me so much that I enrolled!   I was amazed and honored at the way Saddleback College supports veterans.”

KSBR Birthday Bash Jazz Festival Line Up

2010 Birthday Bash

2010 Birthday Bash, Photo courtesy of David Hopley

Saddleback College’s Radio Station, KSBR (88.5 FM), is proud to announce that Brenda Russell and Keiko Matsui will be among the more than 30 musicians appearing at the 2011 KSBR Birthday Bash Jazz Festival.  Both musicians will be making their Birthday Bash debuts on Sunday, May 29 on the Village Green of Oso Viejo Park in Mission Viejo.

Some of  the other artists appearing at this year’s event include sax men Paul Taylor, and Jackiem Joyner; guitarists Paul Brown, Blake Aaron, and Richard Smith; keyboardists Freddie Ravel, and Dan Siegel; and singer/songwriter Bill Cantos. In addition, there will be at least five special guests who are not being announced until they come on stage.

KSBR Birthday Bash Jazz Festival

When: Sunday May 29th, doors open at 3:00 p.m., music begins at 5:00 p.m.

Where: Village Green / Oso Viejo Park 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo

How: Tickets are $45 advanced general admission; $100 Gold VIP table seats; $140 Premium Gold VIP table seats; and $175 Platinum VIP reserved seats.

Contact: The KSBR Bash hotline (949) 582-4501


General Admission tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door and are available at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, at the Saddleback College Fine Arts Ticket Office at 949-582-4656, and online at  In recognition of Saddleback College’s Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program, veterans and active military personnel may purchase general admission tickets for just $25 through the Saddleback College VETS Office: (949) 582-4252. Reserved VIP seating is still available at $100-$175 per person, and is available at All proceeds support KSBR, a community radio station.

The concert is co-sponsored by the City of Mission Viejo. This will be the 22nd year of the station’s largest fund raising event, and it celebrates the 32nd anniversary of jazz on KSBR.

A Record-Breaking $270,000 in Scholarships Awarded at Saddleback College Ceremony

President Burnett and Outstanding Student of the Year Cassandra Ong. Photo Credit: Jenny Loya

A record-breaking $270,000 in scholarships was awarded to 145 students at Saddleback College’s 35th annual Scholarship Ceremony on Thursday, May 12th.  More than 138 individual scholarships were donated by businesses, organizations, community members, and the Saddleback College Associated Student Government, which donated more than $82,000 in scholarships and underwrote the expenses for the ceremony. Forty-nine scholarships worth more than $43,000 were funded by the Bernard Osher Scholarship Fund.

The evening began with the presentation of the ASG President’s Award, which is bestowed to a student who has demonstrated excellent leadership at Saddleback College, and the Outstanding Student Award, which is presented to a student that has shown exemplary leadership, community involvement, and academic achievement. Cassandra Ong, who aspires to be an accountant, was presented the President’s Award by Dr. Burnett. Ms. Ong’s academic goal is to major in accounting in either the University of California or California State University  to pursue an accounting degree and currently holds a 4.0 GPA.  The Outstanding Student of the Year Award went to Tcharles Fagundes, who received his Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration at Saddleback College in 2009. Since graduating, Mr. Fagundes discovered a desire to help less fortunate people as a physician and changed his academic major to health care.

Ms. Varner presented the Donor of the Year Award to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Mission Viejo-Saddleback Valley. AAUW has contributed to the scholarship program for 10 years, exceeding $30,000 in donations.  For the past three years, the group has also contributed to the Osher Endowment.

The Saddleback College Scholarship Ceremony is an annual event that started in 1976, when 45 donors contributed just over $12,000 to some 60 students. Thirty-five years later, more than $4 million in scholarships have been awarded to deserving Saddleback College students.