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News Release

Four Distinguished Alumni to Be Inducted into SAC Hall of Fame

​(Santa Ana) - In the last five years alone, Santa Ana College (SAC) has produced nearly 10,000 graduates. Since the college’s founding in 1915, the impact of its graduates has been far reaching. Numerous SAC graduates have gone on to achieve tremendous success in their chosen fields of study. To honor their success, the SAC Foundation through the Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes and honors SAC alumni who, through leadership, character and hard work, have made exceptional contributions in their chosen fields and their communities.

Four distinguished alumni will be inducted into the 2013 Santa Ana College Hall of Fame sponsored by the Santa Ana College Foundation in ceremonies slated for the college’s Phillips Hall at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24.

The 2013 inductees are master builder Engin Artemel (class of 1960); educator and community college advocate Garman Jacques Pond (class of 1966); social justice champion Nora Adriana Preciado (class of 1997) and community leader Thomas E. Lutz (class of 1965).

Every other spring, the foundation invites alumni, students, faculty, staff and members of the community to nominate persons who have graduated from Santa Ana College or completed a minimum of 30 units of coursework and who have documented distinction and achievement through personal and/or professional efforts since leaving Santa Ana College. Recipients are expected to attend the awards ceremony.

The selection committee is composed of college staff, students, foundation board members and previous Hall of Fame award recipients. Winners are notified, presented, and formally inducted at a special ceremony and at the college's annual commencement ceremony.

When Engin Artemel relocated from Istanbul, Turkey to Santa Ana, CA in 1958, he had $20 in his pocket and virtually no English in his vocabulary. He credits Santa Ana College to putting him on the path to what ultimately became an influential career in public works and administration.

“In addition to offering me a good education, SAC helped me with my orientation to the United States; found me a home to stay in and a part-time job in my field. When I earned my A.A. three years later, I felt ready to face the world. I would not be where I am today if it were not for Santa Ana College,” Artemel said.

After receiving his A.A. at Santa Ana College, Artemel earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture at California State Polytechnic College, followed by a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Kansas. He also completed post-graduate studies in public administration. He relocated to Alexandria, Virginia, where he is acclaimed for his many achievements as the city’s director of planning and community development. Today, he serves as president of Artemel International, Inc., planning consultants in Alexandria, Virginia, and as a lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Virginia and in the School of Architecture at Catholic University.

Urban planner, architect and engineer Artemel has been honored with the Alexandria’s Living Legend award for his consensus-building in the hotly-contested revitalization of a mile-long waterfront. The decaying industrial waterfront was marred by a rendering plant, arsenic factory, coal depot, and rocket testing facility, and festered with a long, simmering feud over who actually had ownership and responsibility for the area: the federal government or the city. Bringing together civic associations, environmentalists, and federal and local government officials, Artemel was instrumental in resolving the Waterfront Title Suit, thereby clearing the way for public access to the Potomac River. Waterfront Park was born at minimal cost through his leadership and much compromise creating a vibrant mixed-use space of beautifully maintained parks, charming townhouses, and successful businesses.

After leaving public sector employment, he formed Artemel & Associates and began assisting the U.S. Agency for International Development as a planning consultant. Soon he found himself helping Russia, the newly independent former Soviet republics Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and Bulgaria and Romania in the Balkans transition to a more Western way of governing. He also consulted with the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme in their efforts to assist less developed countries. He successfully planned and implemented environmental, energy and infrastructure projects in North Africa and the Middle East. Most recently, he has assisted the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti by assembling design and construction teams to plan and build U.S. bases against terrorist activities.

Garman Jacques (Jack) Pond has dedicated his 40-year career to education and has achieved remarkable success worldwide. Born in San Diego, CA, Pond’s family moved to Santa Ana when he was in the second grade, then Tustin, and Cowan Heights. Upon graduating from Tustin Union High School, he applied to the University of Redlands, with the intention of following a course in political science and pre-law. To his shock and his family’s dismay, he was rejected. In 1964, Pond entered Santa Ana College, and there he began his journey to his true life calling: the study of languages, for which he had a natural gift, and a career as an educator.

“SAC was the turning point in my life,” Pond said. “I did not get off to a good start in my first year at SAC but college counselors spent many hours with me, helping me to pinpoint what areas I was really good in and encouraging me to focus on those. For me this was foreign languages, so that is the direction I went. As I studied Spanish and French, my grades soared. SAC professors taught me that, even if a subject was difficult, if I applied myself, I could succeed. I credit Santa Ana College with putting my life on track and opening the doors to a rewarding student experience and ultimately to a profession I love.”

After earning 66 units at SAC, Pond transferred to the University of Redlands and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and French. Embracing his passion for education for himself and others, he continued his education at the University of Poitiers, France, where he earned the Certificate des Etudes, quickly followed by the Certificado de Estudios from University of Guadalajara, a secondary teaching credential from the University of Redlands, and then a grant from the Center for Cultural Exchange Between the East and West (East-West Center at the University of Hawaii) that launched his 35-year love affair with the University of Hawaii’s community college system.

In 1969-71, Pond’s teaching positions took him into Arizona and then Asia. He taught English at the Dilkon School (Navajo Nation) in Arizona for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, provided English language demonstration courses for teachers at the Keio and Sophia Universities, and for teachers at Dunghai University, Taiwan. Returning from Asia, Pond went back to beloved Hawaii and earned a Master of Arts in English as a Second Language from University of Hawaii in 1972.

He then began a 33-year teaching tenure at Leeward Community College in Pearl City, Oahu. For his extraordinary service, Jack was awarded the Board of Regents’ Excellence in Teaching Award. He is known as the creator of the nationally recognized learning community program, PASS, which aided thousands of at-risk students and is now considered a standard of good practice throughout the country. He became the first faculty member from Hawaii to serve as Commissioner for the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges which consists of 134 institutions in California, Hawaii, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Territories of Guam and American Samoa.

In 2004, the Accrediting Commission asked Pond to come back to California to serve as Vice President for Team Operations at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). As vice president of the ACCJC, Pond tirelessly trains Accreditation Liaison Officers, visiting team members, faculty and administrators involved in accreditation. In spring 2011, Pond was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.

Nora Adriana Preciado is a civil rights litigator for the non-profit National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and has been involved in some of the most important civil rights and immigration-related cases of the last decade. These range from her early work as an undergraduate on the DREAM Act to continuing work against Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070 and similar copycat legislation in other states.

An outstanding student at Santa Ana College, Preciado excelled in classes such as Women’s Literature and Shakespeare. She also was very involved in Alpha Gamma Sigma, the honor society.  Her last year at SAC, she worked for Freshman Experience as a student aide and as a clerk for the Honors Transfer Program, helping to organize systems that are still in place today.  A multiple scholarship winner, she was nevertheless forced to delay transfer to the UC system because resolving her immigration status took longer than anticipated.

“I have always been aware of how important the community college system was for me in achieving academic success and continuing my education,” said Preciado. “As a low-income immigrant family with three college-age children at the same time, Santa Ana College was our only realistic option. SAC offered us an excellent, affordable education in a supportive environment which set us on the path to success.”

Preciado was determined to become an immigrant rights’ attorney, a commitment fostered by her own family’s struggles with the United States immigration system. Her experiences were memorialized in a chapter under a pseudonym in William Perez’ book, We ARE Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream. When her immigration situation allowed, she transferred to UC Davis, where she majored in political science and minored in English literature. She was one of a few students chosen for the UCDC program in Washington DC and won the outstanding research paper award while interning with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) where she worked on the initial DREAM Act.

She continued to excel at UC Berkeley Law School, making Law Review and the Board of Law Review. She passed the bar exam on her first try and joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, where she immediately found herself working on significant impact litigation seeking to protect the rights of day laborers. While at the ACLU, she worked challenging unjust immigration detention policies and protecting the rights of immigration raids’ victims before accepting the new opportunity offered to her at NILC.

When she joined NILC, Preciado frequently trained labor unions and other advocates on how to protect immigrant workers' rights. She has even appeared before the Supreme Court as amici in support of the case against Arizona’s racial profiling, anti-immigrant legislation. Over the years, Nora has become a “go-to” spokesperson with the media on immigrants’ rights and immigration issues.  In particular, Nora frequently appears on Univision and other Spanish-speaking networks in an effort to reach affected communities.

During the last few months, she has been working furiously on a case that is near and dear to her heart. In the summer of 2012, President Obama announced a program granting immigrant youth who came to the U.S. as children and obtained an education here, often called DREAMers, the right to apply for permission to live and work in this country for two years. However, soon after, Arizona announced it would deny DREAMers the ability to get driver’s licenses. Preciado has been a key part of the legal team that is challenging that state’s policy to deny DREAMers the right to drive and to further contribute to their home state. She continues to challenge herself on other fronts, applying for and obtaining the prestigious Rockwood Fellowship for a New California, as well as joining a team to co-teach at Loyola Law School.

Thomas E. Lutz was born and raised in Santa Ana. He attended Santa Ana schools; including Santa Ana College from which he graduated in 1965 and where he met his future wife, homecoming queen Nancy Thompson. Completing his degree at California State University Fullerton (CSUF), Lutz then served in the U.S. Army in Korea as a nuclear warhead assembler.  Returning to Santa Ana, he married Nancy and worked for several companies in Orange County before launching his own business in Santa Ana, The Lutz Company, as a general contractor.

Not only was Lutz starting his own business, but he also began a lifelong leadership role in Santa Ana. He helped to organize and then worked tirelessly for the Washington Square Neighborhood Association (WSNA). For a while, he even served as its trash collector, emptying temporary trash cans on Sunday afternoons in his pickup truck until the neighborhood received a block grant to reduce litter by installing permanent cans. This association became a prototype for others to follow, with Lutz lending his time and expertise to help other neighborhoods develop their associations. Thanks to his leadership, Santa Ana boasts more than 60 associations today, forums where citizens can voice their concerns, set priorities and work to improve their neighborhoods. In addition to serving as WSNA president and chairing many committees, he once again stepped up to the plate as the 2013 WSNA president.

A Santa Ana councilman for eight years, he served the last two years as Mayor Pro Tem. Perhaps his most significant action that changed the face and climate of downtown Santa Ana was establishing the Artists Village, a seed that was planted during Lutz’s theater and musical training at Santa Ana College.

“At SAC, I tried different activities, but when I became involved with the theater department, I discovered I really enjoyed building sets for productions,” he said.  “I eventually majored in theater design at CSUF, which expanded my appreciation for the arts. It enabled me to envision the Santa Ana Artists Village and the important role it could play in the rebirth of the downtown area.”

While on the City Council, Tom was a champion for this venture, convincing his colleagues to seek the necessary funding and city assistance to convert an old, run-down auto repair shop into a refurbished building for the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts (OCCA). He was also a major force behind redeveloping the historic Grand Central Market Building into the renovated home for the Cal State Fullerton Grand Central Art Center.

When Lutz’s tenure on the City Council concluded, he served as a planning commissioner and worked on the Historic Resources Commission. Thanks to his leadership, the Orange County High School of the Arts moved from Los Alamitos with an enrollment of 400 to Santa Ana in 2000, where it now boasts an enrollment of 1850 students. Lutz’s advocacy for the arts has transformed downtown Santa Ana, and he was justly honored with the first Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce “Creating a Place for Art” Award in 1998. In addition, the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society twice awarded him its Historic Preservation Society Award. Lutz also understood that you cannot have growth and development in a city without public safety and lent his support to the Santa Ana Police Department and Jail Facility.

The Santa Ana College Foundation fosters support for the college, its students and faculty. It is a non-profit corporation with a volunteer board of directors. Its commitment is to generate the resources needed to expand programs, improve facilities, and support students. For more information, contact Director of College Advancement Christina Romero at the Foundation Office, (714) 564-6091.

About Santa Ana College
Part of Rancho Santiago Community College District, Santa Ana College serves nearly 35,000 credit and non-credit students each semester and offers 136 certificate and associate degree programs. This mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

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​Media Contact

Judy Iannaccone
(714) 480-7503
iannaccone_judy@rsccd.edu