Amber Rose González, PhD Associate Professor & Chair
Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, Chicanx/Latinx Studies,
Women of Color Feminisms
Gerald Padilla (Retired 2018)
“Professor Gerald ‘Jerry’ Padilla’s Retirement”
by Dr. Jorge Gamboa, Social Science Division Dean
Throughout his career as an educator, Professor Padilla has touched thousands of lives across the district and is one of Fullerton College’s most beloved and well-known professors. Professor Padilla was born in Fullerton. In fact, his grandparents, father and his siblings lived in a house that used to be where the Fullerton College Library currently sits. The Padillas are considered pioneers of Fullerton. Professor Padilla arrived at Fullerton College in 1969 to teach American History as an adjunct professor.
He is an intellectual and emotional product of the 1960’s Civil Rights, Chicano, and Anti-Vietnam war movements, which manicured him for to be educator he is today. Professor Padilla graduated from Anaheim High School and attended Fullerton College from the fall of 62’ to spring of 64.’ He earned his bachelor’s from California State University, Fullerton and a master’s degree from UCLA. To this day, he credits Fullerton College professors for preparing him for the rigor of Cal State Fullerton and UCLA. He became a full-time Ethnic Studies professor at FC in 1972 and considers Fullerton College his home. FC faculty who wear jeans today may want to thank Jerry for that. He was the first professor to wear Levis in 1969!
Throughout our campus and community, everyone knows Professor Padilla. He has been actively involved in community events such as the Placentia Tamale Festival and other cultural events throughout North Orange County and Santa Ana. Professor Padilla’s many accolades and achievements include being selected as Best Community College Teacher of the Year in 2012 by OC Weekly and he was most recently awarded the prestigious 2018 North Star Award for his exceptional work at the college. Jerry was honored by The National Hispanic Endowment Fund in 1998 as the Hispanic Community College Teacher of the Year. He has been completely immersed and a prime mover at Fullerton College for more than 46 years. Professor Padilla gives all praise to his Creator who has blessed him with a career of educating students. Likewise, he says that he has equally been blessed by the thousands of students who have nurtured him. In retirement, he will transition into elementary education as a Volunteer Instructional Aid and Teacher’s Resource. Jerry will continue as Santa Claus and he looks forward to enjoying retirement alongside his wife, children, and grandchildren.
He leaves us with one simple message: Whatever you do in life, do it with PASSION and treat what you do as a career rather than a job. Oh!…and attend ALL FC athletics games!
Congratulations Professor Padilla!
“Goodbye Profe Padilla”
by Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly
Adela Lopez (Retired 2013)
Adela Lopez received her B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Portuguese with a Certificate in Latin American Studies, and completed coursework in Mexican American Studies. She earned an M.A. in Secondary Education from CSULB. She also earned a Certificate in Secondary Reading from CSUF and earned another from INTEL.
While in her senior year at Long Beach, the Mexican American Studies Program was established and Adela finally found her passion: teaching. While enrolled in her Graduate Program at CSULB, Adela was hired by the North Orange County Community College District to initiate the development and instruction of a Mexican American Studies curriculum in response to strong student and community demand at both Cypress College and Fullerton College. That was in 1973 and she has been part of the Fullerton College faculty, exclusively, since 1974. She and Professor Gerald “Jerry” Padilla formed the Ethnic Studies Dept. in 1973 which was the first community college Ethnic Studies Program to offer an A.A. degree in Orange County. In 1975, while at Fullerton College, Adela helped to launch a Bilingual Instructional Aide Certificate, A.A. Degree and Career Ladder Transfer Program to CSUF. Adela served as the Chair of the History Dept. and later as Department Coordinator of the Ethnic Studies Department until she retired. She served as President of the Faculty Senate, twice, (the only Latina in the 100+year history of the campus to do so) and served on numerous campus, district, and statewide governance committees. She was a founding member of the Latino Faculty and Staff Association and served as President from 2002-2013. She also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Faculty Association of the California Community Colleges for the Southern Region and was a member of the California Community Colleges State Chancellor’s Instructional Innovations Task Force.
In her role as the primary Professor of Chicana/o Studies, Adela served as MEChA advisor since 1973, and briefly for Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Adela was the faculty advisor to the most active chapter of the Latina Leadership Network the CCC system and was named the Annual Madrina in 2006. She served as a faculty advisor and mentor to the FC Dream Club in support of AB540 students and was an active member of the FC Dream Team. She was a PUENTE Mentor since the program’s inception and she also volunteered as an UMOJA Mentor. In 2006 she was awarded the Apple of Gold Award by the Hispanic Educational Endowment Fund (HEEF) for her teaching and commitment to students.
Over the years, Adela’s Chicana/o Studies classes have been instrumental in organizing several key campus events in an effort to not only engage students outside the classroom but to allow them to experience, reclaim and pass on their heritage to their peers, their families and the campus alike. (e.g. Día de los Muertos, Kindercaminata, Bienvenidos, 5 de mayo, Latino Student Forum, etc.) This has been done to provide students of color opportunities to locate and experience familiar activities, artifacts, spaces, etc. and in so doing support the retention, success and persistence of first-generation students in a primarily white institution. Lastly, Adela integrated a consistent community service requirement (via service-learning) into the fabric of her curriculum as a means of re-enforcing a major tenet and praxis of Chicana/o and Ethnic Studies ideology, community engagement and service, while at the same time enhancing the student’s opportunities for success and meeting the various needs of the community surrounding FC. Adela is still active in many aspects of the Ethnic Studies Department and Fullerton College.