Merced College Staff Newsletter
IAC Building

Dr. Benjamin T. DuranWelcome back for the 2007-08 academic year.

As we enter our 45th year, we at Merced College are experiencing one of the most exciting and challenging years in our history. As a result of a combination of local and state bond dollars, we were able to open our new Learning Resources Center this spring. This has been a long needed and anticipated addition to our college.

I am happy to announce that this summer, our new Los Banos Campus opened to students. We were able to offer summer school classes at the new campus and are looking forward to a grand opening ceremony for the local community on September 7. Residents on the west side of our county made this campus possible by the passage of our bond measure in November 2002. We are very grateful for their support and look forward to serving them in our new campus for years to come.

We are also benefiting from the support of local voters who helped us pass an east side bond for Merced campus in November 2002. As a result of that support, we look forward to the completion of the Science Building remodel in late July and plan to move into it as soon as logistics allow.

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New Faces on Campus

Ten new faculty members have been hired at Merced College just in time for the fall semester.

In addition to the new instructors and counselors, the College has also hired two new deans of Instruction.
According to John Spevak, vice president for Instruction, “our new faculty members will add immeasurably to the wealth of experience and expertise that we enjoy in our teaching ranks. We pride ourselves on our outstanding instructional staff.”

The new faculty members include Lynette Borrelli who replaces Fred Friedland as an instructor of theater arts; Paul Fregene joining the faculty as a chemistry instructor; Cristina Garcia, hired as an academic counselor; Annette Haugen, joining the faculty as a temporary full-time instructor of business management; Jill Henningsgaard, joining the counseling staff and replacing long-time counselor Dorothy Bushnell; Ray Latham, joining the Los Banos Campus faculty as an instructor of microbiology; Edward Modafferi, joining the faculty as an instructor of microbiology; Michelle Patton and Angela Senigaglia, joining the Los Banos faculty as instructors of English and developmental English; and Rauno Tikkanen, joining the faculty for one year, replacing music instructor Mark Doiel, who is taking Tikkanen’s position in Finland as part of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program.

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Dawn KinneyNew Face on Foundation Board of Directors

Athough Dawn Kinney is already well-known in our community, she is a new face on the MC Foundation Board of Directors and is taking "the bull by the horns" as a committee chair for the Board's Annual Scholarship Banquet.

Dawn is a vice president and the county manager of TransCounty Title. Her career in the Title/Escrow industry began in May 1978 when she was hired by Bob Ayers (then the county manager for Transamerica Title) as an escrow secretary

Dawn became an escrow officer in 1983. On June 24, 1989 she was granted the designation of Certified Senior Escrow Officer by the California Escrow Association, and has been an active member of the Association since 1986. Dawn's experience is primarily escrow-related, but she has gained a great deal of title knowledge throughout her 29 years in the industry.

Dawn is active in our community. She is currently the treasurer of the Merced County Chamber of Commerce and has previously served as its president, vice president and secretary. Dawn served as a state director for the California Escrow Association from 1995-1997 and was awarded the "Rookie Director of the Year Award" in 1995.

Dawn is also a graduate of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce's "Leadership Merced" program, and was named the "Business Woman of the Year 2006" by the Merced County Chamber of Commerce.

Dawn has resided in Merced continuously since 1975, but lived in Atwater from 1964-1970 while her late father was stationed at Castle AFB. She has a son, Christopher, who currently attends Merced Community College.

She loves to watch sports, especially footbal,; enjoys cooking for her friends, entertaining, and traveling whenever possible.

The Foundation welcomes Dawn and is excited to have her on board!

Watch for the September issue to read about new board members, Larry King and Louise Farley.

Read more about the MC Foundation


Stacey KellnerStacey Kellner Hired As President's Executive Assistant

The headline could read: “A Changing of the Guard at Merced College.” Or, it could read: “The End of One Era and the Beginning of a New One.” However stated, a significant change has occurred in the President’s Office with the retirement of long-time executive assistant De Merino.

Most of us at Merced College recognize De’s many contributions over the 42 years she spent here. Her professional skills were superlative and her knowledge of College history and culture was unmatched. If something had to be done, and done quickly and successfully, De was the quintessential can-do person. But, like others who have spent much of their working life at the College and entered into a much-deserved retirement, De has moved on. Truly, an era has come to an end.

But, a new one has begun with the arrival of Stacey Kellner, Dr. Benjamin Duran’s new executive assistant. Her experience in an administrative support role spans over 17 years in various businesses such as a computer networking company, a foster care and adoption agency and a community hospital.

Stacey was born and reared in Merced and attended Merced High School. She was very involved in Future Farmers of America and was elected the Central Valley Region president, attending field days, and preparing market animals for local fairs on the Merced College campus. Merced College is a place that is very close to Stacey’s heart. Having the opportunity to be part of a college that is so student focused and community oriented is exciting for her.

An important aspect of Stacey’s life is her family and animals. She and her husband, Ray, have been married for seven years and they have a 5 year old daughter, Julia. Her parents, Wayne and Jackie Hicks, still reside in Merced. Stacey says she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and animals, riding her horses, and watching Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson win championships!

If you haven’t met her yet, stop by and introduce yourself. You’ll find Stacey to be warmly engaging and eager to carry on the great tradition of excellence begun by her predecessor.

Read more about De Merino and her plans for retirement

Polynesian dancerAn Autumn Affaire

The Fifth Annual Merced College Scholarship Banquet, “An Autumn Affaire,” will be held at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall on Friday, October 12. This year's theme, "An Evening in the Tropics," will feature the Kiki Raina Polynesian Revue and a Luau dinner. Social Hour begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and entertainment at 8:15 p.m. A silent auction will also be held during the social hour. So, dress in your tropical favorites and join in the fun as we enjoy the tastes, sights, and sounds of the Polynesian Islands!

Tickets are $75 and proceeds go to support local Merced College students transferring to UC Merced.

For more information regarding the banquet, call 381-6471 or visit the Autumn Affaire web page.

MC Office Technology Students Put Their
Knowledge into Practice

Farm Saelee knows Microsoft Word, Excel, and a host of other computer software programs. The 23-year old Merced College student can create and design office stationary, type and print out letters of correspondence, and keep a database of records. She just needed a job so that she could put her knowledge and skills into practice. That’s when local Executive Edge Insurance Services came into the picture.

Sheryll Mendiola; Susan Kline; Yadira Morales; Farm Lee

Executive Edge is one of a handful of local businesses who accept Merced College students as interns in their offices. The students are enrolled in the College's Office Technology Program as administrative office professional interns.

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Merced Community College District
3600 M Street
Merced, CA 95348
All Rights Reserved