Saddleback College’s Class of 2016 to be Recognized in Commencement Ceremony

Saddleback College will recognize its 1,833 graduates and 1,849 certificate of achievement recipients at its annual commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 24th at 9:00 a.m. in the gymnasium. The event will include the traditional processional and reading of the graduate’s names, and will feature Frank Talarico Jr., President and Chief Executive Office, Goodwill of Orange County, who will serve as commencement speaker. The 2016 student speaker is Pontus Goeransson.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Commencement is a special time at Saddleback College where we celebrate student completion and the accomplishments of our graduates. I am very proud of our students and the faculty, staff, and administrators who played an integral role in helping them reach their goals. Congratulations to the Class of 2016.”

During the ceremony, special recognition will be given to Professor of the Year Steve Teh, Associate Professor of the Year Jeff Oderlin, and Emeritus Institute Professor of the Year Lisa Messenger.

Students participating in commencement are candidates for Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees and certificates of achievement. More than 1,500 students will also be transferring to four-year colleges and universities to pursue their baccalaureate degrees. This year’s graduates will be transferring to four-year institutions such as USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach and San Diego State University, among many others.

South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees President Tim Jemal will lead the conferral of degrees along with Trustees Dr. Barbara J. Jay, David B. Lang, Marcia Milchiker, T.J. Prendergast, III, Dr. James R. Wright, Dr. Terri Whitt, and Chancellor Gary Poertner.

Of the students who are graduating from Saddleback College this year, 476 are receiving honors, including 29 summa cum laude (4.0 grade point average), 169 magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.99 grade point average) and 278 cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 grade point average). Showing the diverse range of ages at the college, the youngest graduate is 18 years of age, and the most senior graduate is 70 years of age. More than 543 graduates are age 20 or younger, and 67 graduates are over the age of 55.

Those not able to attend the ceremony will be able to watch the live stream provided by Saddleback College TV Channel 39 at


Saddleback College to Recognize 53 Nursing Graduates at Pinning Ceremony


The Saddleback College Nursing Program will honor 53 graduating nursing students in a symbolic candle lighting and pinning ceremony to be held on Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 pm in the McKinney Theatre. Each graduate will receive a time-honored pin, a symbol of a nurse’s service to others, and their induction into the nursing profession.

Nursing Program Director Diane Pestolesi, will welcome the graduating students, their family members and friends, dignitaries from the South Orange County Community College Board of Trustees and the Chancellor’s office, college administrators, faculty members, and staff. A “Remember When” speech will be delivered by graduating students Dillon Scherr and Ramer Syquia. Professor Christina Bowles will then present the spring 2016 graduating class.

Each graduate will receive a symbolic pin from Professors Esther Gravis and Carrie Danko. The class pledge will be read by graduate Lacey Trytten. Graduating student Jenifer Chacon will give the farewell address to her fellow classmates. Graduate Tanya Villegas will read a message while Dr. Pat McGinley and Professor Phillis Kucharski take part in the lighting of the candles, symbolizing the “passing of the flame” from Florence Nightingale to each nurse.

Acknowledgements of a class gift will be presented by graduating student Christine Thompson, on behalf of the class of spring 2016. Professor Jodi Caggiano will formally bid farewell to the class.

The Graduating Class of Spring 2016 includes:

(All listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Cayla Alexander             Dove Canyon
  2. Brittany Anzlovar             Dana Point
  3. Kellie Atkins                     Mission Viejo
  4. Alison Baker                    Irvine
  5. Lauren Bendon                Irvine
  6. Elizabeth Hope Bright     Trabuco Canyon
  7. Julie Calkins                    Irvine
  8. Lauren Carlos                  Irvine
  9. Jennifer Chacon              Laguna Hills
  10. Nicole Christ                    Silverado
  11. Bailey Christopher           Rancho Santa Margarita
  12. Kayleigh Dawe                Laguna Beach
  13. Alejandra Doughty-Vilchez La Mirada
  14. Ashley Finiguerra             Dana Point
  15. Hannah Huebscher          Rancho Santa Margarita
  16. Marin Jensen                    Irvine
  17. Sarah Jun                         Mission Viejo
  18. Alexander Kathy               Aliso Viejo
  19. Angelica Keene                Orange
  20. Julianna Kimbrell             Costa Mesa
  21. Katie Knowles                  Costa Mesa
  22. Lauren Kornbluth             Costa Mesa
  23. Rachel Lang                    Capo Beach
  24. Joslyn Lapira                    Chula Vista
  25. Alexis Loos                       Dana Point
  26. Margarita Lopez                San Juan Capistrano
  27. Bao Ly                              Garden Grove
  28. Jesus Martinez                 Lake Forest
  29. April Mendoza                  Garden Grove
  30. Monica Mendoza             Orange
  31. Genevieve Miranda          San Clemente
  32. Chloe Nguyen                   Irvine
  33. Jessica Ochoa                 Mission Viejo
  34. Maria Ojeda-Guzman       Tustin
  35. Malorie Ortiz                     Newport Beach
  36. Stephanie Patton               Laguna Nigel
  37. Shannon Pink                   Costa Mesa
  38. Kimberly Pruitt                  Mission Viejo
  39. Heidi Rice                        San Clemente
  40. Taylor Saddington            Aliso Viejo
  41. Dillon Scherr                    Laguna Hills
  42. Matt Simms                      Foothill Ranch
  43. Julie Soria                        Costa Mesa
  44. Jordana Spangler             San Clemente
  45. Ramer Syquia                  Fullerton
  46. Christine Thompson         Laguna Hills
  47. Nicole Tomasso                San Clemente
  48. Lacey Trytten                    Rancho Santa Margarita
  49. Tanya Villegas                   Irvine
  50. Breanna Walker                 Aliso Viejo
  51. Rebekah Wells                  San Clemente
  52. Tiffany White                     Tustin
  53. Edith Zepeda                     Anaheim


Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. For more information, please visit



Saddleback College Journalism Students Excel at State Convention


Saddleback College journalism students, faculty and staff proudly display their awards from the 2016 Journalism Association of Community College’s state convention. (Front: Prof. Tim Posada; L-R: Julia Cheng, Kseniya Taranyuk, Matt Kirkland, Breanna Greenup, Nick Nenad, Instructional Asst. Ali Dorri, Prof. MaryAnne Shults, Mia Agraviador, Austin Weatherman)

Saddleback College journalism students representing Lariat news publication, Orange Appeal magazine and OCNewsNow video journalism took home seven awards at the 2016 Journalism Association of Community College’s 2016 state convention held March 17-20 in Burbank, California. Awards are based on from student-generated material selected by editors as well as on-the-spot contests in reporting across various media.
“Everyone was amazing,” Lariat Editor-in-Chief Kseniya Taranyuk said. “The Lariat winning the General Excellence award and multiple people winning on-the-spot competitions was so exciting.”
Students received the following awards:
• General Excellence / Lariat Staff
• On-the-spot contests:
    o Nick Nenad, First Place, Sports Writing
    o Breanna Greenup, Honorable Mention, Critical Review
    o Austin Weatherman/ Nick Nenad /Mia Agraviado, Honorable Mention, Video Story
• Write-in contests:
    o Emilie Christensen, Second place, Critical Review
    o Austin Weatherman / Hannah Cameron / Nick Nenad / Amarah Hernandez / Niko              LaBarbera / Jared Smith, Second Place, Video Story
    o Nick Nenad, Fourth Place, Webcast/Broadcast News
“I’m so proud of the students’ performance at the JACC convention,” said Tim Posada, journalism department chair and co-adviser to the student publications Lariat and Orange Appeal. “I’m particularly thrilled for Nick Nenad’s first place award in sports writing during his last semester on the Lariat staff and winning an award for general excellence, which speaks to the quality of the newspaper produced by the entire staff.
The annual conference brought nearly 400 journalism students, publication advisors and journalism staff together at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport. The event invites professionals to speak with students about real-life experiences in a varied assortment of workshops as well as keynote speakers.
This year a panel of four journalists shared their experience of covering the mass shooting in early December at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California when 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured in a terrorist attack.
On-the-spot contests offer students real world experience in reporting and JACC’s awards help set the standard of excellence for the community college experience.

Three Social Entrepreneurs Win “Shark Tank” Style Competition at Saddleback College

Dr. Burnett Moderating

Social entrepreneurs representing 11 start-up companies pitched their business plans that seek to address complex social problems at the Southern California Social Entrepreneur Venture Challenge Showdown on Saturday, March 19th at Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre. A panel of esteemed judges selected the first, second, and third place contestants, who will present their businesses at an investor-only symposium in Los Angeles on May 6th to win funding, customers, and business partners.

The event, which was organized by Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, was the second Orange County Social Entrepreneurship Competition, first hosted by Saddleback College in 2014, which awarded $17,500 in cash prizes to the first, second, and third place competitors, and offered coaching services to help all 11 finalists make their final pitches to social investors.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College and moderator of the event, stated, “The showdown was a culmination of over eight months’ effort to identify and support social entrepreneurs who are addressing social, environmental, and educational challenges around the world. Thank you to all of our finalists for their amazing leadership, diligence, professionalism, and devotion to making our world a better place.”

The panel of judges selected the first, second, and third place presentations:

First Place:
Takachar (Cambridge, MA)
Pioneered process for decentralized processing of agricultural waste into solid fuel.

Second Place:
codeSpark (Pasadena, CA)
codeSpark’s mission is to ignite curiosity about computer science and turn programming into play.

Third Place:
Desolenator (London, UK)
Desolinator produces an affordable, eco-friendly household water purification/desalination device.

The eight additional finalists included:

Colibri (Matagalpa, Nicaragua)
Colibri sells pay-as-you-go solar solutions to low-income, off-grid households.

COMPRA (Los Angeles, CA)
COMPRA is a foods-purchasing cooperative that serves as an alternative food distribution system in underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Copilots in Care (Menlo Park, CA)
Copilots facilitates reflection and communication of patients’ medical wishes to their family members and physicians.

East Africa Fruits (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)
Using a franchising model to sell fresh fruits and vegetables while reducing losses suffered by farmers selling to meddlemen.

Music Lifeboat (Los Angeles, CA)
A music education program that began with a free music education app, BandBlast.

Microfarms (San Diego, CA)
A San Diego based, veteran-owned and operated farm that grows organic produce hydroponically in a solar-powered “FarmBox.”

MUrgency (San Franciso, CA)
A mobile app which connects people who need emergency response with their trusted network. Provides support that is currently unavailable in most developing countries.

Thrive LA (Encino, CA)
Ultra-affordable, off-grid tiny houses and jobs within the community. The first community will focus on returning veterans and homeless veterans. Winner of the Audience Favorite Award.

The panel of judges included:

Iosefa Alofaituli, Regional Director, Opportunity Fund
Douglas K. Freeman, Founder, National Philanthropy Day
Michael Hamilton, Chair, President, Saddleback College Foundation
Andy Horowitz, Entrepeneur and Advisory Board Chair, Chapman University Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Elsa Monte, Senior Vice President of Community Reinvestment and Community Development, Pacific Western Bank
Kyle Scrimgeour, Principal and Managing Member, Core Capital Management, LLC
Donald J. Voska, Chief Financial Officer, Goodwill of Orange County

Lead sponsors of the Southern California Social Entrepreneur Venture Challenge were Saddleback College, the California Community Foundation, and the Annenberg Foundation. Additional sponsors were Pacific Western Bank, Goodwill of Orange County, and the Southern California Slow Money Network.

For more information about social entrepreneurship, visit

Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge 2016


Saddleback College will be hosting the 2016 Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge Showdown on Saturday, March 19 in the McKinney Theatre. Watch 14 entrepreneurs, who are blending social purpose and profit, present their ventures to a panel of potential investors.

Session 1 will be held from 9:30 am to noon and session 2 will be held from 1 to 4 pm. Session 2 will include the awards ceremony. General admission tickets are $10, general admission with lunch tickets are $15. Students can attend for free by using promo code SESTUDENT. Free parking will be provided. For more information and tickets, please visit

Saddleback College Foundation to Host 16th Annual Gala – Alumna of the Year Will be Honored

Saddleback College invites all community members to its 16th annual foundation gala on Saturday, March 12th at 6:00 pm at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point. The gala, which raises funds for student scholarships and college programs, will feature a live and silent auction, dinner, gaming, and magic by Jim Eggold. Live music will be provided by the Saddleback Jazz Band and Commercial Music Ensemble.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, will honor the 2016 Saddleback College Alumna of the Year, Michelle Desilets, who has been recognized around the globe for her work in the protection of endangered orangutans and their habitat. Michelle, who is the founder and executive director of Orangutan Land Trust, developed an interest in anthropology when she attended Saddleback College in the mid-eighties. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English literature from Dominican University in San Rafael, and a teaching certificate from California State University, Long Beach.

During her years of teaching school she traveled extensively, and it was in Borneo in 1994 where she met her first orangutan, who stole her heart and changed her life. In 1997 Michelle and a fellow volunteer opened a rescue center in Central Borneo that is now the world’s largest primate rescue facility, and she later founded the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK and Orangutan Land Trust, which works to provide sustainable solutions for the long-term survival of the orangutan in the wild by ensuring safe areas of forest for its continued survival.

In addition to her charity work, Michelle has served as a consultant to international film crews from BBC, PBS, and Animal Planet, for the series Orangutan Island and Orangutan Diary. She is currently advising on a new film project for ITV (UK) and PBS. Her efforts have been recognized by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Prince Charles, and her organization was honored by the BBC Wildlife Trust as one of the top ten UK charities working to save wildlife globally.

Top gala sponsors include:
Presidential Sponsors — Dr. Tod A. Burnett, Janet and Michael Hamilton, Follett Bookstore
Cardinal and Gold Sponsors — C. W. Driver, Hudson Pacific Properties, City of Dana Point, Neudesic, LLC, Capata & Co.
Gaucho Sponsors — AT&T, Audi Mission Viejo, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo, FLS International, Irvine Valley College, Liebert, Cassidy and Whitmore, Prendiville Insurance Agency, Rancho Mission Viejo and John Williams.

During the cocktail hour, Rancho Capistrano Winery will host a wine tasting, and Spa Girls Cocktails will host martinis for the guests.

To make a donation to the gala or to support scholarships, please visit the Saddleback College Foundation website at

The Saddleback College Foundation initiates and coordinates college and community fundraising in support of Saddleback College and its students. By raising funds for scholarships and other programs, which directly benefit students, the foundation is committed to increasing student success and the enhancing the excellent education offered by Saddleback College. Guided by a group of dedicated community leaders, the foundation strives to make higher education attainable for all in south Orange County. For more information, please visit


Saddleback Unveils Program to Pave Students’ Way to Law School

Saddleback College students now have a direct pathway to law school, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed last Saturday at the Legal Pathway Summit at the University of California, Davis School of Law. The Memorandum of Understanding establishes the Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 Initiative, a program that gives students the ability to transfer to one of six California universities to finish their bachelor’s degrees and proceed to law school. The universities and law schools include Loyola Marymount University; Santa Clara University; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of San Francisco; and University of Southern California.

Those in attendance at the Legal Pathway Summit included Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court; Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association; Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Executive Director of the State Bar of California; Kent Lollis, Director of Diversity Initiatives, Law School Admissions Council; and Michael Treviño, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, University of California.

The Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 Initiative provides community college students with a direct path to law school and emphasizes the inclusion of diverse populations that have been underrepresented in the legal profession. The program, sponsored by the California State Bar Council on Access and Fairness, established agreements for 24 community colleges and six law schools and their respective undergraduate institutions.

UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinksy, an internationally-renowned constitutional law scholar, stated, “UCI School of Law welcomes the opportunity to offer support and participate in this unprecedented program.”

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “This remarkable program will greatly impact and enhance the educational experience for students who seek careers in the legal profession, and will have a profound result in attracting a more diverse population to work in our system of jurisprudence.”

Saddleback College’s Pathway to Law School program is led and overseen by Professor Emily Quinlan, an attorney and faculty of the college’s business department. “I am thrilled to be involved in this unprecedented program and hope to create an environment at Saddleback College that fulfills the spirit and mission of the Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 Initiative.”

The program includes a seven-course curriculum and benefits such as pre-law advising, LSAT prep information, exposure to the legal profession, legal internships, financial aid counseling, academic advising, participation in the Saddleback Pre-law Club, service-based learning, and other law-related events and opportunities designed to increase the interest and eligibility of community college students pursuing a career in law.

Additionally, the program’s personal law/street law class is offered at San Juan Hills High School, allowing high school students to earn college credit. Jennifer Smalley, principal of San Juan Hills High School, sees the program as win-win for all concerned: “We want to offer our students every opportunity to succeed and we are so pleased the Saddleback College has reached out to us and is sharing this program and all that it has to offer with our students.”

For information on enrollment in the Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 program at Saddleback visit


Hundreds Turn Out for 2nd Annual South Orange County Economic Report Luncheon

The South Orange County Economic Coalition and Saddleback College co-hosted the 2nd annual South Orange County Economic Report luncheon at the Saddleback College main campus on February 5th.

More than 275 business, government and community leaders attended the luncheon to learn about the economic health of south Orange County and shed light on opportunity gaps that may limit future growth. The report, for instance, showed that the south Orange County economy grew in several areas, including gross regional product, employment and average earnings.

“South Orange County is potentially the hub of future growth,” said Anthony Teng, the report’s principle author and dean of Saddleback’s advanced technology and applied science division.

But Teng also pointed to signs of potential trouble. Three “economic opportunity gaps,” as he called them, threaten to limit prospects for future growth, including affordable housing for young professionals and middle income families, lack of workforce training and development as well as continued transportation challenges along the I-5 corridor.

The luncheon drew over 50 public officials from throughout the area, including State Senator Pat Bates, Assemblyman Bill Brough, as well as mayors and council members of the 11 cities included in the report: Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano.

Lisa Bartlett, chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, also spoke at the event. She expressed confidence that the region can overcome the challenges cited in the report. “If we all collaborate – the business community, the cities, the board of supervisors, transportation leaders – we can work through these issues and get to really great solutions,” she said.

Along with Supervisor Bartlett and Dean Teng, Lake Forest City Councilmember Scott Voigts and Orange County Business Council President and CEO Lucy Dunn also spoke at the event.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Voigts of Lake Forest noted, “The 11 cities combined in this report will soon become the size of Nashville and Seattle, but businesses are struggling and find the need to reinvent themselves. Our city leaders need to be open to sensible and strategic growth to evolve with changing times and remain vibrant cities.”

Among those offering to take a lead in developing solutions to these challenges was Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College and host of the event.

“Not only does Saddleback serve as a bridge for students transferring to four-year institutions and preparing for the workforce, but also as an important – in fact critical – resource for growing our local and regional economies,” said Dr. Burnett. Saddleback College is committed to its role as south Orange County’s first choice for preparing the workforce, and encourages the business community to look to the college as a partner in development and training.

In just its second year, the South Orange County Economic Report luncheon has quickly become a can’t-miss event due to the unique nature of the subject matter.

“No one else provides this kind of in-depth analysis of this special place we call south Orange County,” said Paul Simonds, government affairs manager for SoCalGas and chair of the south Orange County Economic Coalition board of directors. “We’re honored to partner with Saddleback College to present this one-of-a-kind analysis of our area’s economy.”

Dr. Burnett agreed and encourages more local businesses and local government leaders to take advantage of the many insights presented at the economic report luncheon next year.

Simonds continued: “Our goal for this annual event is that the local business community and local jurisdictions can walk away with a true sense of what’s happening in south Orange County, which accounts for 17.5 percent of Orange County’s total economy. The economic report is a road map for what the future has in store.”

About the South Orange County Economic Coalition
The South Orange County Economic Coalition serves as the leading voice for business throughout the region. Through advocacy, education and representation, SOCEC works to advance policies and legislation that promote a strong south Orange County economy and business climate. For more information, visit

About Saddleback College
Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. Each year, Saddleback College adds more than 5,000 degree and certificate holders to the workforce, and transfers over 3,500 students to four-year colleges and universities throughout the nation. For more information, please visit

Saddleback Wins Grant for Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Saddleback College was awarded $495,534 by the California Apprenticeship Initiative, Pre-Apprenticeship Program to prepare students identified as at-risk for apprenticeship opportunities through the Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Consortium (M-PAC). Recognized as one of the most effective training methods, apprenticeships combine classroom instruction with work-based learning. The M-PAC program addresses the need for a manufacturing workforce in Orange County, where over the next 10 years the need for skilled workers will far exceed the supply.

Despite Orange County’s prominence as a manufacturing base, no manufacturing apprenticeship programs currently exist in the region. Collaborating with the Southern California Tool and Die, Mold, Machinist and Metal Trades Apprenticeship Committee, M-PAC will focus on workforce skills development, industry need, a coordinated and integrated system of support for regional apprenticeship training, and providing historically underserved populations with skills for success in manufacturing apprenticeship. Students in the program will be provided work readiness soft skills training, simulated lab experiences, and student support services to prepare them for apprenticeship opportunities in manufacturing.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “The pre-apprenticeship program is part of our continued emphasis in developing workforce partnerships to create a new generation of workers. This unique program will greatly benefit students who seek apprenticeship opportunities while also helping local business benefit from high-quality and highly-trained workers. ”

Anthony Teng, dean of advanced technology and applied science, stated, “In today’s job market, where employers are looking for experienced, trained workers, apprenticeships provide the necessary real world experience that prepare tomorrow’s workers.”

M-PAC will identify potential participants such as non-traditional students, the unemployed and underemployed, economically disadvantaged, veterans, foster youth, and others. Outreach efforts will be a collaborative effort with K-12 districts, Regional Occupation Programs, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board, and social service agencies.

Mark McElroy Selected National Coach of the Year


Pictured from left to right: Kerry Crabb (asst. coach), Mark McElroy (head coach), Tony Lipold (Athletic Director), and Steve Crapo (asst. coach).

Saddleback Head Coach Mark McElroy has been named the 2015 American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) Coach of the Year. The award was presented to McElroy at the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year Dinner on January 12 at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

“I am completely honored and humbled by this Coach of the Year Award and accept it on behalf of my coaching staff and the Gauchos of 2015 for, without their focused purpose, passion and perseverance, I would not have been chosen for this award,” McElroy said.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Coach McElroy epitomizes what it means to be a great coach. His commitment to his student-athletes and their academic performance is second to none, and his athletic coaching skills are evidenced by the performance of our football teams year after year. Congratulations to Coach McElroy for this well-deserved recognition.”

McElroy recently completed his 17th season as the head coach at Saddleback College and led the Gauchos to a 10-3 overall record and an appearance in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Football State Championship game. The Gauchos reeled off 10 straight wins after starting the season 0-2, capturing the National Division Southern League title and beating Long Beach City College to win the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) championship, which earned the Gauchos a trip to the CCCAA State Championship game. Saddleback fell to the City College of San Francisco in the CCCAA State Championship game, 26-14.

“Coach McElroy is most deserving of the AFCA Community College Coach of the Year award for 2015,” Athletic Director Tony Lipold said. “His won/loss record, his football knowledge, and the success of this year’s team all contributed to his nomination and selection. But what is most important in the equation is his leadership and his commitment to his players, and in developing student-athletes both in the classroom and on the field that we can all be proud of.”

McElroy has an overall record of 125-63 and has led Saddleback to four conference titles. The Gauchos also advanced into post-season play for an SCFA record 13 straight seasons (2001-13), and 14 out of the last 15 years. McElroy has been named CCCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times (2004, 2006, 2015) and conference Coach of the Year four times.

Saddleback finished the season ranked No. 2 in the state by JC Athletic Bureau and No. 5 in the nation by Sophomore quarterback Johnny Stanton was named by the JC Athletic Bureau to the first-team All-America list and the state’s Offensive Player of the Year. Sophomore safety Marcus Meredith was named first-team All-America on defense. The pair was joined by wide receiver Dominic Collins, center Markus Boyer, and offensive lineman Jake Nelson on the all-state list. McElroy was also named as the region’s Coach of the Year.