Cuyamaca College’s past presidents lauded at portrait unveilings
Cuyamaca College’s past presidents are now part of campus history for all to see after Monday’s unveiling of four framed portraits in pencil.
Drs. Wallace F. Cohen (president, July 1, 1977-July 30, 1983); Samuel M. Ciccati (June 20, 1984-July 1, 1993); Sherrill L. Amador (March 1, 1994-June 19, 2001); and Geraldine M. Perri (Jan. 7, 2002-June 30, 2008), were honored for their years of service and contributions to the college at a reception hosted by current President Mark Zacovic.
Commissioned to draw the portraits was Arcadia artist James A. Hanna, who worked from formal photographs of the past presidents. The 22-by-24 inch drawings at Cuyamaca College now hang in the president’s conference room in the F Building.
“These portraits will remind us on a daily basis of the wonderful leadership we have had at Cuyamaca College that has made it the great institution that it is,” Zacovic said.
Three of the past presidents participated in the ceremony, while an interview of Cohen was featured on screen inside the digital theater, where faculty and staff from each leader’s era joined in the unveiling.
“The spirit of community and collegiality is what makes Cuyamaca College so special,” said Perri, now superintendent/president of Citrus College.
Perri spoke of the 2002 passage of the transformative Proposition R $207 million bond measure and the construction of three state-of-the-art facilities during her time at the college’s helm.
The three other past presidents are now retired, although Amador remains involved in higher education as a public member of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
Ciccati credited Cohen as founding president for creating a warm and familial culture at the campus that exists to this day.
“I believe institutions are just like children,” he said. “A child is born and over the first few years, they develop a personality that in essence remains the rest of their lives. Thank goodness for Wally Cohen, the culture he helped develop was wonderful.”
The development of the Grand Lawn -- a personal initiative, along with the addition of the Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum -- is an example, Ciccati said, of the can-do spirit of the campus community.
Amador, described by her colleagues as a planning maven, spoke of the educational and facilities master plans created under her leadership as key to campus’ development as a comprehensive college serving the community.
“It was a wonderful experience to be able to get the ball rolling and to make this college grow,” she said. “Cuyamaca will always be a special part of my life and I am really honored to be part of its legacy.”
Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego.