MSJC to Honor Faculty, Staff, Alumni at Awards Gala Feb. 8

The public is invited to join the Mt. San Jacinto College Foundation in honoring five individuals whose ongoing support and work make a difference at MSJC and in the lives of its students.

The Foundation will award the annual Alumni & Friends Association Awards during the 6th annual Gala Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula.

Outstanding Community Member of the Year will go to Andrew and Gloria Masiel (above). Andrew is a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Tribal Council. The Masiels have supported the MSJC Foundation for years and help ensure students receive scholarships to reach their educational goals.

Outstanding Alumni and Friend of the Year will go to Catherine “Kit” Longe Stewart (left), a longtime Hemet educator whose scholarship through the MSJC Foundation has awarded thousands of dollars to help students succeed.

Outstanding Staff Member of the Year will go to Pat James (right), MSJC’s dean of library, technology and distance education. James is an awarding-winning administrator who is retiring at the end of 2013. Her recent achievements include helping MSJC to receive a $50,000 Gates Foundation grant to fund a Massive Open Online Course at MSJC. This put MSJC in the company of such prestigious universities as Duke and Ohio State University.

The MSJC MOOC is a free course open to anyone in the world. It helps hone students’ skills in English. In its first year, 2012-13, MSJC’s MOOC had more than 40,000 students around the globe.

Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year will go to Christina Yamanaka, associate professor of history on the San Jacinto Campus. As an instructor and as the San Jacinto Campus faculty advisor for the Honors Enrichment Program, Yamanaka’s guidance has helped inspire and challenge students to achieve their dreams.

Yamanaka is the former Phi Theta Kappa advisor and under her direction, this honors society chapter at MSJC grew. She is the distinguished recipient of the Phi Theta Kappa Hallmark Award. In 2013, under the guidance of Yamanaka and two of her colleagues, three MSJC students were awarded the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.

The Gala is the MSJC Foundation’s signature event to raise funds for student scholarships, mini-grants for faculty and classified staff and other philanthropic endeavors. For more information, call 951-487-3171 or visit


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