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Past Chairs


  • |•|  BOB DANIELSON  |•|  Chair 1961-1963, 1967-1968
    |•| BOB DANIELSON |•| Chair 1961-1963, 1967-1968

    GC TENURE: 1961-1986 |•| EDUCATION: A.B., University of Minnesota, M.A., San Diego State College |•| BACKGROUND: After his service in World War II, Robert W. Danielson enrolled at the University of Minnesota and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s degree in English in 1950. He subsequently earned a Master's Degree at San Diego State College, and in 1951 began teaching English at Grossmont High School, where he rose through the ranks eventually to become head of its English Department. In 1961, Danielson was hired to the new Department of Literature and Composition at Grossmont College. He is generally credited as the founding chair of the English Department, though that title is sometimes disputed to belong to Charline Lamons. (See Lamons's bio.) Bob Danielson also chaired the Pacific Coast Regional Conference on English in the Two Year College, and he was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English Curriculum Commission. English Department faculty member Judy Barkley recalled Danielson as a popular teacher and a mentor to new faculty. He remained in San Diego after his retirement. However, on May 11, 2006, after years of enduring the debilitating effects of Parkinson's Disease, Danielson fatally broke his neck from a fall.

  • |•|  CHARLINE LAMONS  |•|  Chair 1963-1966, 1968-1969
    |•| CHARLINE LAMONS |•| Chair 1963-1966, 1968-1969

    GC TENURE: 1961-1983 |•| EDUCATION: A.A., Bristow Junior College; B.A., Oklahoma State University; M.S., Oklahoma State University. |•| BACKGROUND: Georgia "Charline" Lamons was born in Bristow, Oklahoma. Before moving to San Diego, California, Charline taught in Ukulele High School (Ukulele, Oklahoma) for seventeen years. In 1961, she was hired as one of the first English Department faculty of the new Grossmont College. During her years as an educator, Lamons was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Business and Professional Women's Club, Ukulele County Retired Teachers, Kappa Delta Pi, and a charter member of the American Association of University Women. She served two non-consecutive terms as Chair for Grossmont's English Department, during which time she tripled its size, adding in total twelve new full-time instructors. Some affable debate continues even now over whether Charline Lamons or Bob Danielson can rightly claim the title of "first English Department Chair of Grossmont College." It's a matter of semantics over the word "first": in 1961, Bob Danielson left his position as head of Grossmont High School’s English Department to assume the role of the "first hired Chair" of the Grossmont English Department at its temporary Monte Vista High School location. In 1963, when the new Grossmont Junior College officially began operating from its current campus location, Lamons stepped into the role of "first official Chair." (You may decide which "first" matters more.) Charline Lamons retired from Grossmont College—and from teaching—in 1983 and returned to her hometown of Ukulele, Oklahoma, but she maintained her connections to Grossmont College colleagues over the years. By September 1999, Lamons's mobility became very restrictive and she relocated to a local convalescent facility. When former colleague and friend Ray Resler heard of her circumstances, he flew from San Diego with a wireless keyboard and a webTV unit so that Charline could set up her new e-mail address, charlinel@webtv.net, and stay in touch with everyone. In 2002, Lamons passed away at the age of 85.

  • |•|  GEORGE KIRAZIAN  |•|  Chair 1966 - 1967
    |•| GEORGE KIRAZIAN |•| Chair 1966 - 1967

    GC TENURE: 1963-2003 |•| EDUCATION: A.B., New York University; M.A., New York University |•| BACKGROUND: Originally from Jersey City, George Kirazian earned his B.A. in 1959 from New York University, and soon after completed his graduate studies for an M.A. He relocated to San Diego and was hired by Grossmont College in 1963 to teach Composition and Literature; he later served briefly as the English Department Chair, from 1966 to 1967. However, during that time, he hired nine new faculty to the English Department, three of which would go on to become Department Chairs, themselves: Robert Moore, Frank Vittor, and Fred Stollenwerk. After retiring from full-time teaching in 1991, he continued to teach English part-time for Grossmont College (and other colleges) until 2005. A man of many talents, Kirazian continued to be active in retirement as a licensed real estate broker, a life agent, author, poet, script writer, musician, and choral composer. He has made significant contributions to the Armenian Poetry Project, published "Easy Writing: A Practical Guide for Business Professionals," and is the author of piano instruction videos. In 2008, he released his critically applauded reworking of an Armenian liturgical composition, "Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church," performed by Pacific Camerata. Kirazian is also a published essayist and lecturer on the subjects of film criticism and music criticism, and he has hosted the popular FM radio program, "Reader's Theater."

  • |•|  ROBERT MOORE  |•|  Chair 1969 - 1970
    |•| ROBERT MOORE |•| Chair 1969 - 1970

    GC TENURE: 1966 - 1981 |•| EDUCATION: A.B., Stanford University; M.A., George Washington University |•| BACKGROUND: Hired in 1966, Robert E. Moore is one of Grossmont College's earliest Creative Writing instructors. The College's records of instruction, including its catalogs, indicate that Moore filled the post of Department Chair for a period of only a few months, between 1969 and 1970. While no full-time hires are attributed to his rein as Chair, Moore does appear at least to have championed the budding Creative Writing Program by hiring part-time instructor Verena C. Anderson, who would be responsible for the creation of "First Draft," Grossmont College's longest running literary journal (that changed its name to "Acorn Review" in 1999). Moore's careers have been eclectic, including haberdasher and soldier. He retired from teaching to become a full-time writer. His first published novel, "The Imperial Maude" (iUniverse 2004), is a nineteenth century period romance, but he is also renown for his textbook, "So You Want To Be a Writer" (Boyd & Fraser 1974), which remained on the required textbook list of many Creative Writing courses in the English Department long after Moore's retirement. Other published works by Moore include "Apostrophe to the Ocean—And Heave It In!" (JSTOR: The English Journal 55.2 (Feb. 1966): 198-200).

  • |•|  FRANK VITTOR  |•|  Chair 1970 - 1972
    |•| FRANK VITTOR |•| Chair 1970 - 1972

    GC TENURE: 1967 - 1983 |•| EDUCATION: A.A., Grossmont College; B.A., San Diego State College; M.A., San Diego State College (1968-1969) |•| BACKGROUND: Charles "Frank" Vittor held the post of English Department Chair from 1970 to 1972. In 1945, Vittor moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to El Cajon, California. In 1961, after attending other colleges, Vittor enrolled in Grossmont College in its inaugural year and was among the first Grossmont College graduates to receive an Associates Degree diploma in Agronomy on June 15, 1962. Afterward, he completed his Master's Degree at San Diego State College (the topic of Vittor's thesis was justice in Book V of Edmund Spencer's The Faerie Queen), and was hired into the Grossmont College English Department in 1967. In response to questions about why he changed his focus to becoming a teacher of English at Grossmont College, Vittor responded, "I am a teacher now because I was so impressed by the junior college philosophy while I was a student here." He would continue that philosophy during his short reign as Chair, in which the Department, and the college at large, would undergo a period of expansion in program development and faculty: Vittor would eventually come to hire five new full-time faculty, most of whom would usher the Department into the 21st century; one of those faculty, Dorothy Ledbetter, would serve briefly as Department Chair. Frank Vittor has since passed away.

  • |•|  FRED STOLLENWERK  |•|  Chair 1972 - 1974
    |•| FRED STOLLENWERK |•| Chair 1972 - 1974

    GC TENURE: 1965-1990 |•| EDUCATION: B.A., St. John's College; M.S., Immaculate Heart College |•| BACKGROUND: Frederick J. Stollenwerk joined the faculty of the Grossmont College English Department in 1965. Before retiring in 1990, Fred was twice named "Outstanding Educator In America" and filled the role of Department Chairperson for two years, from 1972 to 1974. After retiring as Professor Emeritus, Fred maintained his connection to the Grossmont College community and served on the Retirement Committee, along with retired colleague Z. Dean Parks, as an article writer for The Grapevine. Beyond his professional life as an English teacher, Fred was distinguished by his interest in traveling and camping, and by his charitable work and volunteerism, which ranged from ministering the poor to fixing children's bicycles. Fred moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he passed away on June 22, 2009 and was buried in Willamette National Cemetery. He leaves behind a large legacy and a large family, some which continues to reside in San Diego.

  • |•|  HOMER LUSK  |•|  Chair 1978-1983, 1984-1994
    |•| HOMER LUSK |•| Chair 1978-1983, 1984-1994

    GC TENURE: 1969 - 2004 |•| EDUCATION: A.A., Foothill Hill College; B.A., San Diego State College; M.A., San Diego State College |•| BACKGROUND: Hired by former Chair Charline Lamons, Homer Lusk joined the English Department full-time in 1969, alternately serving as Department Chair from 1978 to 1983, and again from 1984 to 1994. Homer championed the growth of the Department's literature program, offering courses such as Science Fiction and Mythology. He is also responsible for helping to make the English Department one of the largest departments at the College, hiring not only dozens of part-time faculty, but ten full-time instructors, including an instructor who would one day rise to the position of the current Department Chair, herself, Dr. Oralee Holder. He retired in December, 2004, but, as an emeritus instructor, he continues to teach part-time in the Department. During his many years as Chair, he cultivated a variety of Programs that helped to bring a critical mass to the English Department, but his jocular and laid-back style of teaching and leading also gained him a loyal following.

  • |•|  RUTH ANDERSON  |•|  Chair 1977-1978
    |•| RUTH ANDERSON |•| Chair 1977-1978

    GC TENURE: 1970 - 1999 |•| EDUCATION: B.A. California Western University; M.A., San Diego State College |•| BACKGROUND: Although the catalogs of record do not acknowledge her, the official Schedule of Classes for the 1977-78 academic year show Ruth Anderson to have served as Department Chair. This particular period of Grossmont College history was marked by turbulent pickets, bitter protests and heated debates between the Governing Board and the Grossmont College Teachers Association over the issue of collective bargaining. Anderson's was a prominently defiant voice in the protest movement that eventually resulted in a controversial change of Governing Board leadership. Soon after, Ruth married colleague Bruce Barnett (Economics Department), who later became President of the United Faculty. Most remember Ruth Anderson-Barnett's name, however, as synonymous with the Poetry Writing Workshop at Grossmont College, which she taught for decades. Outside of the classroom and the politics of collective bargaining, Ruth was also a long-time poetry writer and editor. Ruth Anderson-Barnett and husband Bruce retired together in 1999.

  • |•|  GLENDA K. RICHTER  |•|  Chair 1983 - 1984
    |•| GLENDA K. RICHTER |•| Chair 1983 - 1984

    GC TENURE: 1968 - 1997 |•| EDUCATION: B.A., University of Arizona at Tucson; M.A., San Diego State College |•| BACKGROUND: Before coming to Grossmont College, Glenda Richter worked for Abraham Lincoln High School, during which time she was completing her MFA at San Diego State College with a thesis collection of short stories. Upon the completion of her MFA, she left Lincoln High School and joined expanding English Department of Grossmont College. Glenda Richter chaired the English Department Chair from August, 1983, to fall, 1984, during which time she hired but one new full-time instructor: former Lincoln High School colleague, Mary Donnelly, who was destined, herself, to become Department Chair a decade later. Richter is also notable as the Creative Writing teacher to James Buquet, whose 1993 short story was quoted by the national press for its chilling descriptions of the shooting rampage he would carry out at a local fitness center. Richter retired in 1997 after thirty years of service to the District, and since continued to write and publish. Her young adult biography, "The Stories of Juana Briones: Alta California Pioneer," was released by Bookhandler Press in 2002.

  • |•|  MARY DONNELLY  |•|  Chair 1994-1999
    |•| MARY DONNELLY |•| Chair 1994-1999

    GC TENURE: 1983 - 2003 |•| EDUCATION: B.A., University of Washington; M.A., United States International University; Ed.S., Point Loma College; Ed.D., Northern Arizona University |•| BACKGROUND: Dr. Mary Donnelly was hired full-time at Grossmont College in 1983, and retired in 2003. Donnelly served as Department Chair from 1994 to 1999. For a brief time she held the post of Acting Dean of Communication and Fine Arts after it had been vacated in 1987 by Dr. Elaine McLevie. (In 1979, McLevie, herself, had transitioned from the English Department into the role of Dean.) Along with colleague Sue Jensen, Donnelly initiated the first links between classes in what was to become the visionary Project Success program. Project Success has since flourished as a network of learning communities both at the developmental level and at the General Education and Honors levels, improving success rates for “at-risk” students. The Program continued for years to come to be one of the English Department's centerpieces of learning. During her tenure as chair, Donnelly brought five more tenured instructors into the fold, one of which would succeed her as Department Chair, Paul "Gary" Phillips. In 1997, Mary Donnelly received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and in 2006 Grossmont College officially conferred upon her the status of Professor Emerita.

  • |•|  GARY PHILLIPS  |•|  Chair 1999-2007
    |•| GARY PHILLIPS |•| Chair 1999-2007

    GC TENURE: 1995 - 2011 |•| EDUCATION: B.S., San Diego State University; M.A., English & Creative Writing, SDSU |•| BACKGROUND: Paul "Gary" Phillips started as a full-time instructor at Grossmont in 1996 in composition, literature and creative writing. He retired in December, 2011. Gary served as English Department Chair from 1999 to 2007, and at the end of his tenure as Chair received the 2006-2007 Distinguished Faculty Award. During his eight years as Department Chair, he was not only active in workshop development and community outreach projects, but also helped to add twelve new faculty members. As a member of the Creative Writing faculty, he launched a new and successfully genre-specific upper level workshop, Novel Writing. In 2004, Gary and wife Joyce, now-retired Supervisor of the English Writing Center, co-authored "Essentials of Tutoring" (Wadsworth 2004), a guide to prepare new writing center tutors in grammar instruction concepts. Several years earlier, in 1998, they co-wrote "The Brainerd Journal: A Mission to the Cherokees, 1817-1823"(University of Nebraska Press 1998), an anthology of the journals kept by the missionaries to describe their day-to-day lives and the lives of the Cherokee who were ministered by the Brainerd Mission. Gary is not only of Cherokee heritage, but also a direct descendent of the superintendent of the Brainerd Mission.

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Last Updated: 11/11/2018
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