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Courtyard of Honor
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Courtyard of Honor

Courtyard of Honor

The 17th annual Courtyard of Honor ceremony was held on October 29. Three former GWC students received Alumni Pillar of Achievement recognition and six individuals or companies received a Pillar of Support.

Pillars of Achievement

To qualify for this distinguished award, nominees must be GWC alumni of ten years or more who have been successful in their area of study or expertise.

Shirley Babashoff was the only woman to compete as a member of the Golden West College Men’s Swim Team – and she was faster than all of them. With an amazing list of accomplishments in her field of endeavor – two Olympic Gold Medals, six Olympic Silver Medals, five World Champion Medals, 27 National Titles, 11 World Records and 29 American Records – it is clear that this Golden West College Alumna is an American treasure. In 2005, the Olympic Committee awarded Shirley the “Olympic Order,” an honor bestowed on individuals who have “Illustrated the Olympic ideals through actions, have achieved remarkable merit in the sporting world or have rendered outstanding services to the Olympic cause.” She was the 1974 “USA Sportswoman of the Year,” Swimming World magazine’s “American Swimmer of the Year” in 1976, an Inductee to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1982, and an Inductee to the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 1987.

Gil Coerper graduated with an Associate in Arts degree from Golden West in 1977, and it was merely a starting point. After serving in the Navy, he joined the California State Military Reserves, where he retired a Lt. Colonel. He served 39 years on the Huntington Beach Police Force, retiring in June 2002. Gil was elected to the Huntington Beach City Council in 2002 and again in 2006, becoming Mayor in 2007. The Boy Scouts of America awarded him an Award of Merit and, in March 2004, the Silver Beaver National Recognition Award, their highest award. Gil is busy giving “retirement” a new meaning – serving as an advisor on the Executive Board of the Huntington Beach Search and Rescue Post, a leader for the Military Boy Scouts Explorer Post based at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, an advisor on the California Police Officers Memorial Foundation, and as a congressional appointee to the Military Selection Committee for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In his home town of Huntington Beach, Gil serves on the Children’s Needs Task Force, the Library Board, the Human Relations Task Force, the Council on Aging, and the Citizen Participation Advisory Board. Golden West College is proud to have been at the beginning of Gil Coerper’s remarkable and long-standing service to our community and our nation.

Patricia Meredith is a study in success. She began attending Golden West College in 1970 as an evening student; then she temporarily set her education aside to support her husband through law school. In 1988, now a single mom, she began working as a secretary at the Irvine Health Foundation, where she now holds the position of Program Director. Determined to get her degree, Patricia returned to school to complete her Associate in Arts, then on to Chapman University where she earned her Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, in 2007. Her work in the Health Systems Management field has brought significant support to her position on the Golden West College Foundation Board of Directors. She has brought in over $275,000 in grants and scholarships to the GWC School of Nursing. From evening student, to working mom, honored graduate and caring philanthropist, Patricia embodies the meaning of success at Golden West College.

Pillars of Support

Pillars of Support

Six Pillars of Support honored individuals or companies that have contributed $25,000 or more to the college. A pillar is dedicated in the name of an individual, company, or as a memorial to a loved one. With these additional six pillars, the college now has 58 Pillars of Support.

If you are interested in dedicating a Pillar of Support at some future date or nominating a former student, please contact the Foundation office at (714) 895-8315.

The Jane Axel Memorial Pillar
Robert Axel and Karen Honigberg, son and daughter of Jane Axel

The Edwards Lifesciences Fund Pillar
Jay Wertheim, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Edwards Lifesciences Fund

The Harbor Beach Division 77 Scholarshp Foundation Pillar
Willa Sigler Foundation President (right) with her daughter, Mary Ann

The McBeth Foundation Pillar

The Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center Pillar
Sue Romero, Director of Acute Care Services, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center

The Pillar of Peace
In memory of Dr. Susana Nakamoto Gonzalez.Pictured are Susana’s husband, Ron Gonzalez, with daughter Christine and son Zach.