By Juliana Zapata | Asst. News Editor
Richard Mahon, a humanities instructor at Riverside City College, is one of four community college faculty members in California who received the Hayward Award on March 1.
The Hayward Award is given to faculty members, who show strong commitment and excellence, not only to their students, but also to their college.
The other three winners of the Hayward Award included, Scott Lankford from Foothill College, Sandra Haynes from Pasadena City College, and Carolyn Borg from Shasta College.
Aside from teaching at four different community colleges, Mahon has taught at RCC for 15 years.
He also has been an instructor at Norco College and Moreno Valley College.
Along with teaching, Mahon is involved outside the classroom.
Some of his involvements included being president of the academic senate and president of the faculty association of the Riverside Community College District. Also, in 2006 he was elected to the executive committee of the academic senate for California Community Colleges.
He is currently serving as the chair of the RCC curriculum committee.
Mahon has a special connection with the community college system because he was once a community college student.
However, he said he understands that the circumstances and generations are different.
“(Today) students are busier, but not with school,” Mahon said.
He said he is aware that many students have priorities such as holding a full time job or caring for their family.
“I don’t know how you guys do it,” he said.
Mahon teaches in the Honors Program at RCC, and previously taught in the Community for Academic Progress program. He said he believes in faculty coming together to create programs for students.
Mahon said he believes that faculty need to unite in order to make progress for students. This is the reason why he is deeply committed to making positive changes, and preserving quality education in the community college system.
“Many (meetings) have been boring but ultimately something was accomplished,” he said.
In high school he was not excited about going to school, but during that time, he did everything possible to graduate earlier.
“I loved learning, but hated school” Mahon said.
He said he did not like the high school environment, where policies matter more than learning.
Mahon is the chair of the history, humanities and philosophy department.
In 1978 he received his bachelor’s degree on history and religious studies from UC Santa Cruz, and in 1989 he finished his doctorate’s degree on history of consciousness.
“I didn’t know what graduate school was” Mahon said. “I followed the love of my life, who was going to graduate school.”
Mahon said he assumed that it was what people normally did.
Mahon was nominated by his fellow faculty members at RCC for the Hayward Award. However, some of his previous students were not surprised that he was a recipient.
“He motivates students to lead class discussions and promotes critical thinking” Jim Xu said. “He is very nice and available all the time.”
Among his students, Mahon is known for always having a smile on his face and for wanting students to be casual by calling him Richard.
Mahon received the award at the Board of Governor’s meeting in Sacramento.
“It’s very humbling,” He said in regards to the award.