By Chloe Hunter
A project 10 years in the making has finally come to fruition just inside the north entrance to the Riverside City College A.G. Paul Quadrangle.
In the short hallway leading to the courtyard stands the Emeritus wall, adorned with bronze plaques commemorating the service and dedication of RCC faculty. The “emeritus” status is awarded to applicants with years of outstanding service to the college. The project was initially planned as tiles on the ground rather than plaques on a wall.
Lee Nelson, a nursing instructor, said the need for an alternative plan came to be due to the tiles being in various states of disrepair. The tiles would have to be sectioned off during rainy days so people would not fall on the honorary tiles and get injured.
“You would literally slip and fall,” Nelson said. “As a nurse, safety is a huge thing. It’s not a good thing to honor our emeritus with something that is going to cause harm and possible injury to our students. So it’s sending the wrong message, if you will.”
The ironic and macabre nature of emeritus tiles that posed risk to students led to the push for an Emeritus Wall that would solve the issue of safety and be reflective of the respect that was meant for honored faculty.
Nelson and mathematics instructor Mary Legner expressed that they look forward to the day they get their own plaque on the wall.
Legner shared that the wall’s recognition plans are still in the beginning stages. The plan was to hold an event near the end of the spring 2021 semester, but the Academic Senate decided to honor the emeriti with an in-person celebration. Legner said that the Academic Senate will continue discussing a possible fall 2021 in-person event.
“It all depends on if we’re open,” Legner said. “But we will be having teasers here getting ready for the fall probably in May. The community hasn’t formed yet so it’s up to the workgroup. ”
Nelson was pleased with the Emeritus Wall, calling the final product outstanding.
“It really does the intention of what we wanted to do with the tiles,” Nelson said.
Mark Sellick, RCC Academic Senate president, said he is looking forward to seeing the plaque for Ron Pardee, a business administration and management instructor who died in September of 2019, due to the profound impact he had on RCC.
“But I would rather not single out particular faculty because so many of my colleagues have worked in ways, large and small, noticed and not, that have contributed to our college and our community,” Sellick said. “Anyone who has served RCC with distinction should have a place of honor on the wall. We are all fortunate that they provided us with the institution that we currently enjoy.”
Nelson expressed how important the Emeritus wall is to honor people who have given a life of service in the realm of academia. Faculty members had the option to pursue their field in different ways but chose to serve students seeking to make something of themselves, Nelson said.