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Visit 'Graduation Central' for Commencement Information, Including Live Broadcast, Bios, and Commemorative Program

May 25, 2012 — 4:58 p.m.

Cypress College's "2012 Graduation Central" section of the website has everything you need to know abou the 45th Commencement on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. The ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. in Gateway Plaza.

View the live broadcast, see the graduation commemorative program, and read bios in "Graduation Central."

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Student Trustee Caspellan is 2012's Outstanding Graduate of the Year

May 25, 2012 — 4:58 p.m.

a photograph showing Jennifer Caspellan, a Theater major, the student trustee and Cypress College's 2012 Outstanding Graduate

Jennifer Caspellan, a Theater major and the student representative from Cypress College to the NOCCCD Board of Trustees, is Cypress College's 2012 Outstanding Graduate.

Jennifer Caspellan — a Theater major and the college's current Student Trustee — is Cypress College's 2012 Outstanding Graduate of the Year. She will be honored at the Forty-Fifth Commencement on Tuesday, May 29. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. in Gateway Plaza.

She has already been accepted for admission to the University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Diego and the University of California at Davis, among other four-year institutions. She has made the decision to attend UCLA.

"I am the product of a second chance," Caspellan wrote in an essay authored as part of the selection process. "It took me 27 years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and the road to finding myself was not easy. Now, I am 29 and it has never been clearer as to where I want to go and what I want to accomplish. I have learned many important lessons along the way but one of the most significant is that it is never too late to better your education and follow your dreams."

She first enrolled in college immediately following her high school graduation, attending sister campus Fullerton College in 2001. Caspellan said she failed her first class, dropped out and spent the ensuing seven years making bad decisions and getting into trouble.

"I lost hope that I would ever accomplish anything because I thought of myself as trash," she said.

In 2009, Caspellan enrolled in Cypress College's Human Services program, thinking that she perhaps wanted to be a counselor.

"I took an American Ethnic Theater class with Mark Majarian and the rest is history," said Caspellan, who changed her major, and has since served as the stage manager for at least one show each semester. "I fell in love with the theater and stage managing and finally found something that I want to do with my life."

During her six semesters at Cypress College, Caspellan has also been an active member of the Associated Students, currently serving as the student member of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees representing Cypress College. It is one of several student government positions she has held.

With a cumulative 3.91 GPA, she has been on the President's Honor Roll each year during her enrollment, and has received awards and scholarships such as: recognition in "Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges," the "Rising Leader Award," "Outstanding Woman who goes Above and Beyond," "Most Influential Student," the Juanita Noble Memorial Scholarship, the Dr. Don Bedard Leadership Award, the Waltmar Foundation Scholarship, and the Robert M. Hardy Memorial Scholarship.

Following graduation and transfer, Caspellan plans to earn her bachelor's degree in theater, and eventually hopes to work with the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, and eventually on Braodway.

Cypress College President, Dr. Michael Kasler, had this to say about Caspellan: "I've been particularly impressed with her wit and determination in working through problems. She listens, does research, and isn't shy about expressing her opinion to provide meaningful input to campus and District projects."

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Union Bank's Habis Selected 2012 Outstanding Alumnus

May 25, 2012 — 4:54 p.m.

a photograph showing Pierre Habis of Union Bank and a Cypress College alumnus

Pierre Habis, an executive at Union Bank, is Cypress College's Outstanding Alumnus for 2012.

Pierre P. Habis, a Senior Executive Vice President for UnionBanCal Corporation and its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., has been selected as Cypress Colleges Outstanding Alumnus for 2012. He will be honored at commencement on May 29.

Mr. Habis, who has 25 years of consumer and business banking experience, was named to his current position in 2010 after joining the bank in 2008 to head branch banking.

In this role, he manages all aspects of Consumer and Business Banking, including the Product Management and Development Group, the Business Credit Center, Risk Management and Operations, and the companys Priority Banking(R) group. He also has ultimate oversight of more than 400 retail branches in California, Oregon, and Washington. He is a member of the banks Executive Committee, which is the companys primary policy-making forum.

Mr. Habis is widely recognized as an innovative leader and passionate advocate for increasing financial literacy education among youth and adults. He is a former member of Operation HOPEs National Board of Directors, an organization that empowers under-served communities through unique public/private partnerships, such as its Five Million Kids (5MK) initiative to empower youth, teachers and parents with tools to take control of their financial futures. Mr. Habis was instrumental in securing Union Banks founding sponsorship of the 5MK program in 2010. Additionally, through his leadership Union Banks first student-run bank branch opened in March 2011 on the campus of McLane High School in Fresno, California. The branch will provide students, who primarily live in low- to moderate-income communities, with real-world financial education and experience.

In February 2011, Mr. Habis received the Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award from the West Angeles Community Development Corporation, which is presented to a corporation that has distinguished itself as a leader in innovation, charitable giving and diversity in the community.

In 2011, he received two Silver Davey Awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts for Union Banks ten Community Matters (SM) videos. The Community Matters videos air on KCET in Los Angeles and KQED in San Francisco as part of the banks sponsorship with these public television stations. These can be viewed on the Union Bank Community YouTube page:

Mr. Habis returned to Chapman University in 2009, where he received an MBA in finance, to teach an undergraduate financial literacy course. He received his bachelors degree in economics from the University of Southern California. Mr. Habis, who is one of the highest ranking Arab Americans in the financial services industry, is a member of the California Science Center Foundations Board of Trustees, director-at-large and board treasurer of the American Heart Associations Western States Affiliate Board of Directors, and member of the board of directors at KCET, the nations largest independent public television station. He is also a member of the Union Bank Foundations board of directors.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Vangsness of Criminal Minds to Deliver Commencement Address

May 25, 2012 — 4:50 p.m.

a photograph showing Kirsten Vangsness of CBS Criminal Minds and a Cypress College alumna; photo by Kevin Sharp of kSharp Photography

Kirsten Vangsness, of the CBS drama "Criminal Minds," is Cypress College's 2012 commencement speaker. Photograph courtesy of Kevin Sharp of kSharp Photography.

Known as one of the Entertainment Industrys most-charming performers, Kirsten Vangsness plays the blonde, be-spectacled, brainiac, tech-kitten, Penelope Garcia on the hit CBS drama, CRIMINAL MINDS.

Also a Cypress College alumna, Vangsness has been selected by students to deliver the commencement address at graduation on May 29.

Originally, her current role was scripted for just a single episode; but, overwhelming audience response to Vangsness  who last year was named one of the Top Ten Scene Stealers by Entertainment Weekly  made her a series regular. Now in its fourth season, CRIMINAL MINDS continues to soar in the ratings (in the season three cliffhanger, where Garcia was shot and almost died, the show had some of its highest ratings to date). The show chronicles a team of FBI specialists, with Garcia taking care of the computer needs and the comedy relief that this dark, suspenseful show has come to rely on.

Prior to landing CRIMINAL MINDS, Vangsness had limited television experience. When first working in Hollywood, she booked a few memorable commercials for Diet Dr. Pepper, IBM, and Borders Books.

She finally got a theatrical break into TV shows as a guest star on Disneys PHIL OF THE FUTURE. Next she played the recurring role of Stephanie the nervous, bee-hived, flight attendant on NBCs short-lived LAX.

As for film, Vangsness was seen histrionically stripping in the independent film A-LIST, and was featured in the comedic/thriller IN MY SLEEP. She is presently at work on a starring role in the independent feature film KILL ME DEADLY.

Although her high profile success is relatively recent, Vangsness has been acting on stage since she was very young. She received numerous awards and scholarships in both high school and college for acting, as well as attending the prestigious California State Summer School of the Arts (INNERSPARK).

After attending Cypress College, she graduated from Cal State Fullerton and began performing in plays and improvisation in Los Angeles, where she established herself as a critically acclaimed L.A. theatre staple. She has been a member of numerous theatre companies in Hollywood and was the last recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Natalie Schafer Award for Best Emerging Comic Actress.

In 2007, Vangsness starred in the west-coast premiere of Neil LaButes FAT PIG alongside Scott Wolf, Andrea Anders and Chris Pine for which was honored with a Best Actress Garland Award.

Vangsness has written various performance-art pieces seen throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. She has volunteered in many behind-the-scenes capacities.

Additionally, Vangsness has a unique affinity for making and re-designing her own clothes. Because her previous day jobs almost always included working with children, Kirsten continues to volunteer at a few elementary schools  reading and teaching after school improvisation and acting classes. She is also passionate about making up really good vegetarian soups, NPR, collecting music, recycling, her nieces, her dog Bastian, and learning new jokes.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Dr. Simpson Accepts Chancellor's Offer to Become Cypress College's 11th President

May 24, 2012 — 2:46 p.m.

a photograph showing Dr. Robert Simpson, Cypress College's incoming president

Dr. Robert Simpson is set to become Cypress College's 11th president.

Dr. Ned Doffoney, Chancellor of the North Orange County Community College District, shared the news earlier this afternoon:

I am pleased to announce — pending Board of Trustees approval on June 26, 2012, where a formal appointment will be made — that Dr. Robert Bob Simpson has accepted my request to assume the Presidency of Cypress College. Dr. Simpson will begin his duties as College President on July 2, 2012.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Simpson.

Dr. Simpson came to Cypress College from our sister campus in 2007 to succeed Dr. Kasler as the college's Executive Vice President. Five years later, he is again in line to step into a role held by Dr. Kasler, who is retiring after 20 years at the college.

As Dr. Doffoney noted, his appointment is still pending Board approval.

Dr. Pat Ganer, President of the Cypress College Academic Senate, noted in an email to colleagues that Dr. Simpson has some large shoes to fill.

"I am fully confident that Bob will do an excellent job of leading Cypress into the future," she said. "Not only is Bob a master of the budget, which is much needed in these difficult times, and a fully-informed policy wonk on educational issues, he knows, understands and appreciates the Cypress College culture. Congratulations, Bob."

Dr. Simpson was one of two finalists considered from the position.

Congratulations to Dr. Simpson on his selection.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Video of Presentations by Campus President Finalists Now Available

May 21, 2012 — 5:30 p.m.

Two finalists for the Cypress College presidency participated in individual open forums on Monday, May 21.

The two finalists are:

•     Dr. Robert G. Simpson, Executive Vice President, Cypress College; and

•     Dr. Barry A. Russell, Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs at the California Community College Chancellor's Office.

Below are their presentations:

Dr. Simpson:


Dr. Russell:

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Third Time's (Also) a Charm: Chargers Three-peat CA Championship

May 21, 2012 — 11:17 a.m.

a photograph showing 2012 California Community College Softball Champions

Here are the Chargers, also known as the 2012 California Community College Athletic Association Softball State Champions!

Congratulations to the 2010, 2011, and now 2012 California Community Colleges Athletics Association softball champions!

The Chargers defeated College of the Siskiyous twice on Sunday afternoon to earn the title — Cypress College's third consecutive and eighth overall.

The Chargers opened the tournament with a 9-7 victory on Friday evening over Sierra College (41-6), the north's second seed (recap).

But a loss to Siskiyous (40-2) on Saturday evening (recap) pushed Cypress to the elimination bracket, where the team played three consecutive must-win games en route to the championship.

The first was a 7-0 victory on Saturday night over Riverside Community College (33-13), the south's second seed (recap).

That set up the first game on Sunday vs. Siskiyous, with Cypress looking to extend the double-elimination tournament.

The Chargers held on for an 8-7 victory in the noon contest (recap), delivering Siskiyous their first loss in 20 games.

Immediately following the win, the two teams took the field again (recap). Cypress surrendered a run in the top of the first, but went on to plate runs in each of the first three innings. The Chargers also sandwiched a 5th-inning run between 4th- and 6th-inning scores by Siskiyous to secure a 4-3 victory and the college's third consecutive state title.

Tiffany Fox was named tournament Most Valuable Player, while individual honors also went to Chargers Stephanie Luhmann (Most Valuable Pitcher), Jessica Reichner (Golden Glove), and All-Tournament selections for: Luhmann and Courtney McGee (pitchers); Mallory Campbell and Morgan Wheeler (infielders); Tiffany Fox and Chelsea Jewett (outfielders); and Arren Nunez (1B).

Notes: This is the 23rd consecutive season Coach Brad Pickler has taken a team to the California Final Four. The Chargers have also won the championship each of the three years it has been held in Bakersfield. No other college has won more California State Championships in softball than Cypress College (8). The Chargers are also the only team to win three consecutive CA titles, having now done it twice.

Box scores:
Cypress 9, Sierra 7
Siskiyous 8, Cypress 3
Cypress 7, Riverside 0
Cypress 8, Siskiyous 7
Cypress 4, Siskiyous 3

a photograph showing the championship tournament bracket and results

The 2012 California Community College Athletic Association Softball State Championship tournament bracket. Click photo to enlarge

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Two Finalists for Campus Presidency Identified, Participating in Forum Open to Campus and Community on Monday, May 21

May 21, 2012 — 10:21 a.m.

Two finalists for the Cypress College presidency will participate in individual open forums on Monday, May 21, from 2-4 p.m. They will take place in the Cypress College Complex, Room 414.

All faculty, staff, students and members of the community are welcome.

The two finalists are:

•     Dr. Robert G. Simpson, Executive Vice President, Cypress College; and

•     Dr. Barry A. Russell, Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs at the California Community College Chancellor's Office.

Dr. Doffoney shared the following in a memo to all staff:

After a short introduction, each candidate will present a brief statement, and then the floor will be open for questions from the audience. I would like to ask all staff to attend the forum and to be prepared with questions for the candidates, and that faculty announce the forum in your classes and encourage students to attend.

Dr. Simpson's forum will begin at 2 p.m. It will be followed by Dr. Russell's session at 3 p.m.

Cypress College has scheduled a live broadcast of the forums on the campus' Ustream website. They can be viewed at: A recorded version of the two sessions will also be archived on Ustream for later viewing.

No special setup is required to view the broadcast. Ustream is the same technology used to stream recent graduations, the scholarship awards, and the California ShakeOut.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

3rd Annual Cypress College Student Film Festival Today at 1 p.m., 6 p.m.

May 10, 2012 — 10:58 a.m.

a photograph showing a portion of the poster for the 3rd annual Cypress College Student Film Festival
The 3rd Annual Cypress College Student Film Festival takes place this afternoon and this evening in CCCPLX-216. Click the image to view the full poster.

The 3rd Annual Cypress College Student Film Festival will be held today at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., with an awards ceremony beginning at 8:30 p.m.

There is no cost for admission.

The film festival is being held in CCCPLX-216.

It includes twenty films from various genres, including, drama, comedy, horror, documentary, 2D animation, 3D animation, abstract, fine art, and music video and a high school category.

The event is coordinated by Professor Ian Holmes.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Fall and Summer Schedules Finalized, Available Online

May 8, 2012 — 4:11 p.m.

The Fall and Summer Class Schedules are now online at the Cypress College website. The schedules appear as separate documents online; however, they will be a single print document. The print version is expected to be available in the Bookstore by next week.

You can view the schedules, and access the searchable schedule, by visiting the Schedule of Classes page on the Cypress College website.



Posted by Marc S. Posner

Video from Scholarship Awards Ceremony Now Available

May 7, 2012 — 4:56 p.m.

Video streaming by Ustream

We're pleased to make available video from today's Scholarship Awards ceremony is now available.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Victoria Castle Named Orange County's Community College Teacher of the Year

May 7, 2012 — 11:10 a.m.

a photograph showing the presentation of the Orange County Community College Teacher of the Year Award to Cypress College Geology Professor Victoria CastleVictoria Castle receives the Orange County Teacher of the Year Award on Monday morning.

Geology Professor Victoria Castle is Orange County's community college Teacher of the Year — one of five teachers across the county being surprised today with news of the honor. The other four teachers are all in K-12 instruction.

Castle learned of the honor as a crew representing the Orange County Department of Education, the Disneyland Resort, Schools First Federal Credit Union and The Orange County Register climbed out of a school bus and descended on her classroom just before 10:30 this morning.

Orange County Superintendent of Schools William Habermehl made the announcement and then presided as representatives from sponsors Disneyland, Schools First, and the Register made presentations to Castle in front of her students. Also on hand were a number of representatives from the college, including NOCCCD Trustee Leonard Lahtinen, Executive Vice President Bob Simpson, Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Dean Richard Fee, and Academic Senate President Pat Ganer (among several others).

Castle will be recognized in formal ceremony at the Disneyland Resort in October, and will be the recipient of a $15,000 award for the honor, which is provided by the Dr. James Hines Foundation.

In March, Castle was selected by a student-organized committee as the Cypress College Teacher of the Year, placing her into nomination for the county-wide honor.

From all of us at Cypress College, congratulations to Victoria on a well-deserved honor.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Thursday Student Art Show Opening Includes 'Cypress Valley High' Debut

May 1, 2012 — 5:02 p.m.

a flyer for the Annual Cypress College Student Art Show
The Annual Student Art Show opens with a "huge party" and awards ceremony on Thursday evening.

An opening reception and awards ceremony for the Annual Cypress College Student Art Show takes place on Thursday, May 3, from 6-8 p.m., in and around the Art Gallery. The event is followed by a campus screening of the short film "Cypress Valley High," which was produced on campus.

"The Annual Student Art show is celebration of our students and their talent," said Sarah Jaffray, the Art Gallery Director. "The opening reception is a huge party with an awards ceremony, food, and music."

The student art show runs May 3-17. Admission to both the Student Art Show and the film screening is free.

Cypress Valley High made its premier as a featured film in the LA FILM+MUSIC WEEKEND festival in March. It was made as a collaboration during a master workshop with artist in residence Kiel Johnson last year. In addition to Johnson, Cypress College students and faculty, Roger TV collaborated on the project.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Spring 2013 Study Abroad in Rome, Italy Information Sessions May 3 and 8

May 1, 2012 — 12:30 p.m.

a photograph showing part of the flyer for the Study Abroad Program in Rome
The Spring 2013 Study Abroad Program is headed to Rome, Italy. Information sessions are Thursday, May 3, and Tuesday, May 8.

Cypress and Fullerton College students' Spring 2013 Study Abroad will be a joint program that will take place in Rome, Italy. For those who don't want to miss out on this opportunity - attend one of the Information Meetings. The classes that will be offered are English and Psychology.

The Study Abroad Information Meetings will be held in two locations. The first Study Abroad Information Meeting will be held at Fullerton College on Thursday, May 3, room 229 at 7 p.m. The second Study Abroad Information Meeting will be held at Cypress College on Tuesday, May 8, in the Cypress College Complex room 419 at 7 p.m.

The student requirements to participate in the Study Abroad Program are: to have completed at least 12 units of college courses and English 100; a GPA of at least 2.5 and must be at least 18 years of age. For more information contact Jackie Evans at (714) 732-5680 or

Posted by Marc S. Posner

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