On Thursday, October 24, the Golden West College Foundation held its 18th annual Courtyard of Honor Ceremony, honoring donors and recognizing successful alumni.
This year, three GWC Alumni were inducted into the Alumni Pillars of Achievement – Blaise Bryant, professional athlete and entrepreneur, Matthew Cowan, mechanical engineer, and Police Chief Corey Sianez.
Blaise Bryant is a retired professional football player and currently the CEO of a local mortgage company. Blaise played football for GWC before transferring to Iowa State University, where he became a household name as the Cyclones’ running back and Heisman Trophy candidate. He played for the New York Jets and for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League. Chip Marchbank was the football team’s trainer at the time Blaise attended GWC, and nominated him for the award. In his acceptance speech, Blaise said, “The overall work ethics I learned from my education at GWC led to my success at Iowa State University.”
Matthew Cowan is a mechanical engineer at Lawrence Livermoore National Laboratory. After graduating from GWC, he earned his BSME from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a MSME from Stanford University. He gave credit to Golden West College for providing him with direction and a great start in his career, stating, “Golden West gave me the best academic preparation that I could have received.” Matthew was also a Rustler Wrestler. Wrestling Coach Dale Defner (retired) nominated Matthew for the Pillar of Achievement.
Chief Corey Sianez was nominated by Ron Lowenburg, GWC Dean/Director of the Criminal Justice Training Center. Chief Sianez was recognized for his career as a Police Officer who climbed to the ranks of Chief of Police for the City of Buena Park. He attributes his success to the teachings and education that he received at Golden West in the Police Academy. “I am grateful for the influence it had, and still has, over me during my entire law enforcement career.”
Two Pillars of Support, Radford Robinson, and The Foundation for California Community Colleges, were elevated to the Premier category for contributing $100,000 or more. Although they were not in attendance, they were recognized at the ceremony.
The Wes Bryan and Terri Zwick Pillar was added as the 73rd Pillar of Support. Each Pillar represents donations of $25,000 or more. GWC President Wes Bryan and his wife Terri Zwick were recognized for their personal contributions to the college. The Bryan-Zwick family has been a proud member of the GWC community for more than thirty years. As educators, Wes and Terri share their enthusiasm for the college and its mission. Over the years they have watched as their own children performed, competed and achieved success at Golden West.
Six new members were added to the Golden Society. This category represents contributions between $10,000 and $24,999. Charlene and Ralph Bauer, Mark Craig, June and Paul Dugmore, Norma Brandel Gibbs, The Abel Weathermax Foundation, and John and Sheila Wordes were recognized for their continuing support. In addition, 22 donors were added, or climbed, the Donor Wall, for donations ranging from $1,200 to $10,000.
A reception was held at the Criminal Justice Training Center (CJTC), where the new CJTC Honor Wall was unveiled. Over the past 18 years, there have been ten Police Academy Alumni inducted into the Pillars of Achievement. Duplicate plaques are now displayed prominently, and proudly, at the CJTC. Six Police Academy alumni were present for the unveiling. Incidentally, all six rose to the rank of Chief!