After a combined amount of nearly 35 dedicated years between two of them, PCC provost Pauline Merry and her executive secretary Karren Ray are finishing up their final semester with LBCC before their retirement.
A party Tuesday, April 24, celebrated their time at LBCC and bid the two of them a motivational goodbye and good luck from a room that “was full of people,” as described by Merry in the May 7 issue of “The Jewel,” a PCC bi-monthly bulletin created by the two retirees.
“The Jewel” is only one of the multiple contributions made by the PCC duo. This semester, the PCC hosted the 8th annual Caminata, an original recruitment idea thought of by Merry.
About 500 fourth-graders, accompanied by their teachers and LBCC volunteers, were given the opportunity to tour the PCC facilities.
The Caminata serves as an introductory day for kids to look at various job opportunities and the availability of colleges in their own backyard, Merry said.
Merry also headed up the development of the ACE program, designed to meet the needs of busy people who would like to obtain an associate of arts degree from LBCC.
Among some of her more prestigious recognitions, Merry has been acknowledged as a “Women of Distinction in Education,” by the Soroptimist International of Irvine as well as “Women of the Year in Education,” at the Women’s World Expo and also named one of the “Outstanding Black Women Administrators” in the Los Angeles Community College district. She is also involved in several off campus and campus related organizations, a list too long to publish.
“We brought art to our students,” Merry wrote in “The Jewel.” Merry combined efforts with retiring photography teacher Mickey Wilson and with photos taken by students, helped improve the aesthetic value of the PCC by displaying photos in the EE Building corridor and the Admissions and Financial Aid facilities.
The Learning Center walls also display work created by 20 artists, a vision of Merry’s that the center staff helped to accomplish. Sculptures have also been placed throughout the PCC.
Beginning her career as an intermediate clerk in the Child Study Center in 1980, Ray has held several positions before landing the executive secretary to the provost at the PCC. Ray and her family have all received awards from four surrounding cities recognizing their work with the community, including homeless assistance, blood drives and more. In April of 2001, Ray donated bone marrow for a 9 year-old leukemia patient and was presented the Outstanding Colleague Award from LBCC.
In one of Merry’s final statements included in “The Jewel,” she said, “I have no particular words of wisdom to offer. I have always tried to do my best, think well of others and be myself. I am blessed to have the family, friends and colleagues I have had.”