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June 18, 2013 > Ohlone Foundation celebrates community leaders

Ohlone Foundation celebrates community leaders

Submitted By Ohlone College

More than 250 people attended the star-studded 25th Annual Ohlone College Foundation Citizen of the Year event, "Starry Night: Citizen of the Year Gala" emceed by NBC Bay Area newscaster Scott McGrew. In celebration of a quarter century of community leaders, all previous Citizen of the Year awardees were recognized.

The first Citizen of the Year was honored in 1983 when Dr. Stephen Epler, first President of Ohlone College, informed Ohlone Foundation Board member Mrs. Salwa Aboumrad that the College wished to recognize her with the award that year. The second Citizen of the Year event held was in 1987 when Doris Green was honored. Since then, with only two exceptions, the Foundation has held a Citizen of the Year event annually, honoring one or more individuals or organizations that have benefited the Tri-City communities. Additional honorees included George Silliman, Dr. Stephen Epler, the Honorable M. O. Sabraw, Larry Milnes, Fred and Marlene Weibel, Local Olympians, Dan and Marie Archer, Rich and Gerry Brunelli, Morris and Alvirda Hyman, Sister John Marie, Shirley Sisk, Delaine Eastin, The Lorenz Family, Alberto Huezo, Jan Perkins, Lillian Hack, Citizens for Better Community, Nancy Farber, Don and Babs Amsbaugh, Rick Geha, Gloria Villasana Fuerniss, Steve Cho, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Rotary Clubs of the Tri-Cities, and David W. Smith. Many recipients of the Citizen of the Year award have retained close ties to Ohlone College and still reside in the Tri-City area.

In addition to the honorees, many political and College dignitaries were also present. State Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, and County Supervisors Scott Haggerty and Richard Valle, Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, Newark Mayor Al Nagy, as well as several other Fremont and Newark City and School District officials, and members of the Washington Hospital Board and Fremont Symphony Board were in attendance. Trustees of the College and members of the Foundation Board were also present, including Foundation Chair Bob Douglass, who began the proceedings with a greeting, and Dr. Gari Browning, President of Ohlone College. Other College officials included Vice Presidents Ron Little and Dr. Ron Travenick, and Deans Lesley Buehler, Walt Birkedahl, Dr. Gale Carli, Dr. Mike Holzclaw, and Mark Lieu.

During the silent auction various items were sold including a tour of NBC Bay Area Studios, lunch with Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, and a weekend in Carmel donated by Jean Louie. In all, $58,380 was raised to provide program support and scholarships for the College. After dinner, Ohlone descendant Andy Galvan led a procession of the Ohlone Promise scholarship recipients. The Ohlone Promise Scholarship provides 16 high school seniors a full ride scholarship for four full semesters of tuition, books, and related fees at Ohlone.

Title sponsor for the 2013 Citizen of the Year Gala is Janice Futch-Claridge. "We're so grateful to Janice and to all our sponsors for such a wonderful evening," said Foundation Executive Director Susan Houghton. "Thanks to the combined efforts of the Foundation Board, the volunteers, and of course, the students, it truly was a starry night!"

For more information about the Ohlone College Foundation, please visit

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