Last Saturday, the Victor Valley College Foundation held its annual Alumni Hall of Fame event. For over 40 years, the Foundation has been helping to bring the College and community together. With the help of the event’s presenting sponsor, Desert Valley Hospital/Desert Valley Medical Group, the Foundation did it again, honoring five notable award recipients and raising funds to support education during an exciting celebration aimed at “Elevating” education in the community.
Each year the Foundation recognizes Victor Valley College Alumni whose success reflects positively on their alma mater, honors a community servant, highlights an advocate for education, and acknowledges a friend of the College. This year the five recipients included: a World War II expert, a Vice President of Facilities and Construction, a female pioneer and business owner, a business who’s focus is to give back to the community, and the former “Mr. VVC”.
The Alumni Hall of Fame was proud to posthumously honor and award inductee for 2016, Willie Davis Pringle. Willie truly valued education and after attending Victor Valley College he attended Northern Arizona University on a scholarship. He then spent the rest of his life contributing time and energy toward future generation’s education. Willie worked at VVC for over 30 years and was proud to assist in preparing students to make the world a better place for the next generations. His roles at VVC ranged from Associate Student Body Council Activity Advisor to Athletic Director, head football coach, and finally Director of Students Services. With these positions under his belt, he became the first recipient of the Student Services Employee-of-the-Year at Victor Valley College. This accomplishment truly went to a deserving man since some fondly referred to him as “Mr. VVC”.
Victor Valley College was also pleased to honor inductee, Patrick Joseph Silvestri, into the Hall of Fame. Silvestri graduated with honors from Victor Valley College in 1980 with an Associate’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He is the current Vice President of Facilities and Construction for Prime Healthcare Services, managing 39 hospitals in 12 states. He is well known for his integrity and dedication to his positions and causes he is passionate about. A long supporter of high school students and animals, Patrick serves on the Board of Directors for the Robert Mack Scholarship Foundation, a statewide organization that provides scholarships to high school and college students pursing studies for careers in healthcare engineering.
This year, the Distinguished Community Service honor recognized the contributions of Regina Weatherspoon- Bell. Weatherspoon-Bell is the owner and President of Gi & Associates, a boutique marketing, consulting, and event production company. She has extensive experience in entertainment management. Regina works tirelessly for many causes in the High Desert including Today’s Woman Foundation, Better Way Domestic Violence Shelter, and Salvation Army among many others. She was also the Director and visionary for the “Women Over 50” documentary, book, and photo exhibition.
This year’s Distinguished Education Service award recognized Victorville Motors and desertFIAT for their “It’s a Gas” campaign. The “It’s a Gas” program started as a celebration of education in the high desert. Victorville Motors and desertFIAT wanted to change the landscape of education by providing an incentive for students to increase attendance. Now in its fifth year, more than $10 million has been raised to support our local schools and districts. Over 8,500 students have been eligible to win based on attendance, in addition to over 1,600 teachers that have been eligible since “It’s a Gas to Teach Class” started two years ago.
The Presidents’ Award for 2016, which recognizes a person or organization for their impact on the College, honored the Victor Valley College Foundation’s 2009-2011 president, Janice Olson. It was fitting for this award to acknowledge the transformation Olson created during her tenure as president. In addition to her commitment and profound work in education, Janice has had many successes both personally and professionally. She was one of the first women to break the glass ceiling by becoming the first female department head at Homart Development Co, a development arm of Sears Roebuck. She also served as the General Manager at the Mall of Victor Valley, has been a notable speaker at women’s history events that inspire and empower future women leaders, and maintains strong ties to the community through her roles at the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Victor Valley Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. She is also a renowned expert on the B-17 Flying Fortress in the Pacific Theatre.
The Alumni Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards Celebration was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville on Saturday, February 27, 2016. In addition to celebrating the honorees, the event featured dinner, dancing, and a silent auction.
The Victor Valley College Foundation is a fundraising and public relations partner for Victor Valley College. Gifts to the Foundation change lives by providing scholarships for deserving students, equipment to enhance training programs, tutoring to demystify difficult academic subjects and other support to enrich the College experience.