Originally written for publishing on April 28, 2013.
“It is not the history of the college, it is the history of the remarkable people that have come through the college,” said Robert Jensen, Dean of Fine Arts, conveying the emotions behind the opening night ceremony of Fullerton College’s Centennial Celebration.
The Fullerton Museum Center opened its doors on Saturday night for a celebration of Fullerton College’s prodigious history.
Even before guests entered, they were surrounded by an array of vintage automobiles parked outside the museum. Additionally, theatre students dressed in period attire casually roamed through the assembly, really setting the mood.
“Robert Jensen reached out to local collectors and asked them to lend the cars for the event,” according to Christina Hasenberg, exhibition curator.
A red carpet led the guests to the entrance of the museum and a buzz of anticipation and excitement surrounded the crowd, awaiting to see what was in store for them inside. Guests were immediately greeted to a photo-op with two life sized cardboard cut-outs of Fullerton College students throughout the years, one student dressed in 1950s style school attire, while another portrayed the flannel clad millennial student.
Every nook and cranny of the exhibit contained something to marvel at. Fullerton College’s journalism, athletics, and theater department received immense prominence at this event.
The journalism section featured past archives of The Hornet, the school newspaper and The Torch, the school magazine. Behind the display glass, a collage of past covers and photos were arranged to provide juxtaposition between the past and the present; which is also an overall theme throughout the exhibit. For example, photos of current Hornet newspaper staff were arranged next to photos of past Hornet staff, both groups posing in the same manner, the contrast allowing spectators a feeling of nostalgia.
Bob Rhein was one such individual in the crowd who especially experienced the nostalgia.
“I attended Fullerton College and worked on the Hornet back in the days when we had manual typewriters, they just gave me so much opportunity to do what I wanted to do,” Rhein said.
A walk down memory lane was exactly the experience for many of the guests at this reception.
“I graduated from here in 1950, it was a wonderful place to go to school,” former student Marge England cheerfully remarks.
While for others it was a more of a bittersweet experience. The celebration of the theater arts department in the exhibit featured brief biographies of former theater art students, and one such was Addison Glines. Addison Glines passed away in 2001 to a form of lung cancer, his mother was present at the reception night and overwhelmed with pride for her late son.
“It is beautiful seeing him recognized tonight, he was an amazing actor,” she said.
The athletics installment of the exhibit featured professional sculptor, Don Treadway, in the middle, preaching his cause. Treadway has taught at FC for thirty years and approached guests to explain his plans of creating a new bronze sculpture of acclaimed coach, Hal Sherbeck, for Fullerton College.
“[My goal is] to try to generate interest, especially from alumni,” said Treadway. “There are a lot of people in the world of football and sports who have known Hal, they would love to see this happen.”
The President of Fullerton College, Dr. Rajen Vurdien, was also in attendance and especially proud of the portion of the exhibit which recognized the Japanese-American students, Stella Asawa Yano and Mitsuko Funakoshi. These students were unable to complete their education after being sent away to internment camps during World War II and were finally awarded honorary diplomas from Fullerton College.
“This is beautiful,” President Vurdien remarks.
However, the real party began with the outdoor celebration, complete with a large stage featuring performances from a full jazz band and theater students. Large outdoor heaters placed in between the table arrangements allow for old friends and colleagues to engage in comfortable conversation with no disturbance from the chilly night. In addition, a large tent was raised over a portion of the outdoor area to allow for a cozy place where guests could get food and drinks and enjoy the jazz band.
Hollywood actor, Cress Williams, was one such notable that was spotted enjoying the outdoor celebration. Williams attended Fullerton College from 1988 to 1992 as a theater major.
“I just wanted a chance to reconnect and see some of my old professors,” he exclaimed over the jazzy roar of the band.
This open-aired celebration allowed for guests to unwind and get some fresh air after experiencing the exhibit, many even filled the dance floor around the end of the night.
Robert Jensen, one of the key organizers of this event was pleasantly surprised at the overall reception.
“The party is great fun, but the exhibition is the star of the night,” Jensen said while looking over the crowd assembling the dance floor.
Jensen hopes people have gained enough interest to come back and re-experience the exhibit in a quieter setting, which will be open to the public through July of this year.