By Desiree Perez
By Desiree Perez
Trumpets blared and torches blazed in the A.G. Paul Quadrangle Sept. 13 as the Riverside City College Convocation ceremony began. It was the first chance in nearly two years for students, staff and faculty to get a look at the Quad.
Torches were used to light the Lamp of Learning, described by Patrick Schwerdtfeger as a “symbol of unity.”
He continued by praising the advancements of the Quad, such as the new air conditioning system and the remodeled clock tower that follows the original designs of G. Stanley Wilson.
ASRCC President Remigio Pech-Torres presented his goal to create a unified student body, with the Quad being “key in this goal.”
The first of four opening speeches came from Academic Senate President Richard Mahon.
“There are two ritual bookmarks in education: convocation and commencement,” Mahon said. “Whereas commencement is melancholy, I hope (convocation) marks new and improved stage of life.”
RCCD Interim Chancellor Jim Buysse agreed with RCC Interim President Linda Lacy’s observation that there is a lot to look forward to this semester.
“(RCC) represents a second chance to some,” Buysse said. “We are expecting successful accreditation visits.”
Following Buysse was Board of Trustees President Mary Figueroa. She noted the sweltering heat in the Quad, and gave a metaphor connecting students to the remodeled building.
“The outside (of the Quad) is something you see first, but the real worth is what is inside,” Figueroa said. “We also have a committed, first-rate faculty to be proud of.”
On the subject of faculty, Figueroa presented the honor of full professorship to Patricia Scileppi, former Associate Professor of Speech Communications at RCC and now one of only two full professors at RCC.
“What a splendid way to end 38 glorious years,” Scillepi said. She spoke directly to the students, asking that they participate in college events.
“I was you in 1964, trying to figure out which room to go to,” she said. “All I can recommend is that you participate and go to events on campus. I decided one day to attend a lecture in the auditorium. The speaker was a man named Martin Luther King. When he was about to be introduced, there was a bomb threat. After the excitement was over and we were evacuated, we all went back inside, and Mr. King gave his speech.”
Scileppi said that the experiences at RCC, such as King’s speech, had changed her life, and urged students to succeed.
“Seek truth in all you do,” she said.
Charlie Richard, Assistant Chair of Performing Arts, presented the Stover Family Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in Music to conductor Kevin Mayes.
“There’s never been a day where I’ve said ‘I don’t want to go to work today’,” Mayes said.
After his speech, Mayes conducted the RCC wind ensemble in a brief interlude, Schwerdtfeger introduced H. Vincent Moses, the former director of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.
Moses’ work focuses on the diverse culture of Southern California. He spoke about the Quad’s history and its new structural characteristics.
“The Quad was the beating heart of RCC and it will remain the beating heart because of this renovation,” he said.
Moses addressed the historical significance of the Quad, not only generally, but on a personal level as well.
“My wife graduated from this institution,” Moses said. “The Quad saw the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, The Sexual Revolution and 9/11.”
Moses then explained the structural significance of the remodeled Quad.
“Wilson designed (the Quad) in the Renaissance Revival style to represent the power, dignity and grace,” Moses said. “The renovation cost about $23 million and was thought to be finished early and within budget… Well, they don’t make them like they used to!”
Moses also praised the Quad’s inspirational qualities.
“Let this Quad inspire us to seek truth,” he said.
Lacy then presented Moses with an artistic rendition of the Quad to display RCC’s gratitude.
As Convocation ended, RCC student Amy Hayes stood in the the Quad, admiring the architecture.
“I like how they kept the structural integrity intact,” she said.
Renata Mangutova, another student, saw the building in a different light.
“It’s like a castle,” Mangutova said as her friends looked around the courtyard.
When asked about the modernization process, Coordinator of Student Activities Doug Graham described the process with enthusiasm.
“We have a completely modernized interior,” Graham said. “We preserved the outside, but we changed the inside drastically. Technology is in lightspeed, and so we have to keep up.”
Like most at RCC, Graham expressed his eagerness to have the Quad back.
“I can’t wait to start holding campus events here again,” Graham said. “It’s the perfect location for that.”
According to Lacy, the Quad will be open during this semester and classes will move into the new building.
Lacy also said that half of the portables in Lovekin Field will be dispersed among the Moreno Valley and Norco campuses as well as the Ben Clark Training Center. The others will house facilities for many programs on campus.