Honorees Inducted Into MCC Hall of Fame

MESA, Arizona — Nov. 2, 2018 — Ten outstanding alumni, staff and community members were welcomed into the Mesa Community College Hall of Fame during a reception and ceremony hosted by the MCC Alumni Association Nov. 1 at the MCC Theatre, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Mesa, 85202.

The MCC Hall of Fame honors alumni, community members, and MCC employees whose personal and professional accomplishments and positive contributions to the college and community set them apart.

The program which began at 7 p.m., was preceded by a reception at 6 p.m. on the MCC Art Gallery Patio.

The 2018 Honorees, by category, are:
Alumni Achievement
Award – Allison Tyler Jones, Robert Klee, Sherri Thomas and Donna Wallace
Service Award – Arlen Sykes
Outstanding Athlete Award – Shea Hillenbrand, Dan Manucci, Neville Myton and Vance Wilson
Distinguished Staff Award – Nora Amavisca Reyes, Ed.D.

Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Allison Jones

Allison Tyler Jones, Professional Photographer and Founder of Allison Tyler Jones Photography
The Allison Tyler Jones Photography Studio has been ranked as one of the USA Top Performing Studios, according to the Professional Photographers of America. Her portrait clients include many Who’s Who in the Valley of Sun. A mother of seven, she attended MCC in 1983 and 1984. Allison has been featured by Professional Photographers of America, holds workshops and is invited to speak at seminars. She is an author and co­author of books including “100% Kid: A Photographer’s Guide to Capturing Kids in a Whole New Light,” “Designing With Photos,” “Photographing Children” and “Expressions: Guide to Taking Extraordinary Photos of an Ordinary Life.”

Richard Klee

Robert Klee, Superintendent, Crane Schools (retired)
He dedicated his 40-year career to public education in Arizona, serving for nine years as a teacher and coach with the remainder of his career spent in educational leadership. He served as a principal for ten years before serving as an assistant superintendent for five years. The remainder of his career was spent as the superintendent for the Antelope Union High School District and the Crane Elementary School District both in Yuma County. A proponent of Year-Round Education, he received the 1996 Pioneer Award from the National Association for Year-Round Education, a 1997 nominee for the Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Arizona, and the 2017 June Pallack Excellence in Education Outstanding Leadership Award. A member of the MCC 1975 NJCAA National Championship football team, Klee graduated from MCC in 1975.

Sherri Thomas

Sherri Thomas, Career Strategist, Owner of Career Coaching 360
Graduating from Mesa Community College in 1983, Sherri is the Founder and President of Career Coaching 360 and helps others transition into a more meaningful and purposeful career. She is the creator of the Maricopa Community College Foundation’s Pass-It-Forward scholarship fund for working women, and provides free coaching scholarships to women in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kenya. As an Intel employee, Sherri led the "She Will Connect" program in Kenya to teach women how to use the internet to further their education and career. Her award-winning book “The Bounce Back - Personal Stories of Bouncing Back After a Layoff, Re­-Org or Career Setback” was named 2013 Best Career Book by the India Book Awards, and her first book “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand,” was No. 3 on Amazon’s Top 10 List for personal branding books. Sherri has been interviewed in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, New York Post and NBC. She speaks globally from Israel and Ireland to Singapore and Kenya.

Donna Wallace

Donna Wallace, R.N., M.S., C.P.N.P., Nurse Practitioner at Cardon Children’s Medical Center Neurosurgery
Donna graduated from MCC in 1979 and has served in several interesting capacities in Neuroscience Nursing, including director­ at­ large for the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN). One of the awards that she is most honored to have received is the AANN Mary Decker Mentorship Award. Donna is co­editor of Nursing Care of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Patient, 3rd edition, which was chosen as one of the American Journal of Nursing’s 2017 Books of the Year. Additionally, she is the author of numerous other publications, including the Hydrocephalus chapter for Handbook of Neuroscience Nursing, and the Hydrocephalus and Pediatric Developmental Disorders chapters in the AANN Core Curriculum. She is currently a Neurosurgery Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and she has devoted her professional life to improving the care of at-risk populations. She has volunteered locally and globally on medical missions to South America and Mexico.

Service Award Recipient

Arlen Sykes

Arlen Sykes, Volunteer for Red Cross, National Kidney Foundation, Special Olympics, and various other organizations, retired elementary school teacher and U.S. Navy veteran
Serving in the United States Navy during the Persian Gulf War, Arlen Sykes went on to become an accomplished educator and extraordinary volunteer, making important differences in the lives of many young people. Arlen has received teacher and educator of the year honors from numerous organizations including the Tempe Diablos, National ACE organization, KNIX, KNEZ and the Dairy Council. Arlen earned Congressional Recognition for working with veterans in the Troops to Teachers program. His service to the Civil Air Patrol, America's premier public service organization for carrying out emergency services and disaster relief missions, garnering a multitude of recognitions over the past 18 years, including Southwest Region Aerospace Teacher of the Year. More than 5,000 survivors of hurricane Katrina were under his care at the Arizona Coliseum in his role as the manager of the Arizona Red Cross Shelter. His work with the Arizona Special Olympics and fundraising for the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona are but a few of the volunteer endeavors for which he is renown. 

Outstanding Athlete Award Recipients

Shea Hillenbrand

Shea Hillenbrand, MCC Baseball 1993-1996, professional baseball player 1996-2007
This Mesa native graduated from Mountain View High School and attended MCC 1993-1996. He played for the Thunderbirds 1994-96 where he was First Team All American and 1996 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Shea played Major League Baseball for seven years from 2001-­2007 including with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was the 10th-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox in 1996, was Player of the Year three of his five years in MLB and played in the All-Star games in 2002 and 2005. In the prime of his athletic career, he left to be with his family in 2008 he founded the Against All Odds Foundation with a mission to assist athletes of all ages with life transitions through preparation, inspiration, and education and to inspire children from many backgrounds through baseball. He is a national motivational speaker and trains baseball coach leaders. In 2004 he donated “The Shea Hillenbrand Field” to the Boys and Girls Clubs in Chandler. He founded a baseball academy in Mexico in 2016.

Dan Manucci

Dan Manucci, MCC Football 1975 NJCAA Champion, professional football player 1979-1987
A quarterback for McClintock High School, he played at MCC in 1975 and 1976 and was a member of the 1975 national champion football team and played baseball his freshman year at MCC. He earned a football scholarship to Kansas State University where he led the Big 8 in passing his senior year and was named 1978 All-Big 8 Honorable Mention. Dan was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 1979 NFL Draft. He played three seasons with the Bills and returned in 1987. He also played for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts (1981) and the United States Football League's Arizona Wranglers (1983). For more than a decade, he has been co-host of the Phoenix sports radio talk show "Roc and Manuch." He is on the Advisory Board of National Football Foundation Valley of the Sun Chapter, participates in the local NFL Retired Players Association.

Neville Myron

Neville Fitzgerald Myton, MCC Track & Field 1968 NJCAA Champion, 1964 and 1968 Olympics
His distinguished high school athletic career in Jamaica began in 1963. He set records at countless local and national meets. In 1964, he ran the 880 yards in 1.47.2 seconds, becoming the first Jamaican Junior World Record Holder, a title he holds to this day. In 1965, the British magazine World Sport awarded him a Certificate of Achievement and the local newspaper dubbed him The Indomitable Distance Man. Graduating high school, he came to Arizona and helped what was then the Hokams (before we became the Thunderbirds) win a National Junior College Athletic Association Track and Field championship. Neville won three NJCAA individual national championships, twice in the 880-yard run and once in the 440-yard hurdles. At San Jose State College in 1969, he ran on a sprint medley relay team at the Fresno Relays that clocked the second fastest time in history, missing the world record by one-tenth of a second. Graduating San Jose State College in 1971, he earned a Bachelor of Social Science and another in Physical Education. In 2016, Neville was inducted into The San Jose State University Hall Of Fame. He competed for Jamaica in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Mexico City in 1968; twice in the Commonwealth Games; and once in the Pan American Games. After graduation he returned to Jamaica to teach and coach several Olympians. Neville was manager of the JAMALCO Sports. In recognition of his unselfish contribution to his community and nation, particularly in the field of sports, in 2006 Jamaica awarded him the Order of Distinction, Officer Class.

Vance Wilson

Vance Wilson, MCC Baseball 1993-1994, professional baseball player 1994-2008
A graduate of Red Mountain High School, Mesa, this Arizona native played for MCC 1993-94. He was Second Team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American and 1993 and 1994 All- Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. Selected in the MLB draft by the New York Mets in 1993, he signed after his 1994 season at MCC and made his major league debut in 1999 as a defensive replacement. He played parts of six seasons for the Mets as a catcher and two years with the Detroit Tigers as was part of the 2006 Tigers' American League championship team. Vance became a manager in the Kansas City Royals minor league system in 2011 and was named Bull Pen Coach for the major league team in 2017. He and his wife Bridget and their daughter Peyton reside in Arkansas where they helped raise $150,000 to build a Children’s House for abused youth.

Distinguished MCC Staff

Nora Reyes

Nora Amavisca Reyes, Ed.D., Vice Provost MCC Red Mountain Campus
The Vice Provost of the MCC Red Mountain Campus, Nora is known for her strategic planning as well as tireless efforts mentoring staff, leading initiatives at the Red Mountain Campus and helping students succeed through innovative programs and inspiring one-on-one engagement. She began as a second grade bilingual teacher and then joined MCC as a residential Education faculty member. She has been assistant chair and chair of Education Studies Department, acting dean of Innovative Learning and Academic Affairs, and chair of the MCC Department Chair Association. Nora has served as Education Instructional Council and Articulation Task Force chair; Guanajuato and Xalapa Study Abroad director; and project administrator for a $2 millionUS Department of Education grant supporting professional development for teachers of language learners. Nora graduated valedictorian from Antelope Union High School in Wellton, Arizona and from ASU she earned a Bachelor in Education, an M.Ed. in Multicultural/Bilingual Education and an Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction, Bilingual Education.

Additional information about the MCC Hall of Fame, including previous honorees and nomination instructions is available at mesacc.edu/alumni/hall-fame.

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Photos of honorees are available. 

Contact: Dawn Zimmer, (480) 461-7892, Dawn.Zimmer@mesacc.edu

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for service-learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to 30,000 students annually, MCC offers more than 195 degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations. MCC is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution with a diverse student body that enriches the learning experience. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to compete locally and globally. MCC, located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the 10 colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. For additional information, visit mesacc.edu.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District.

The Maricopa County Community College District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities.  For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator:  (480) 731-8499.  For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit http://www.maricopa.edu/non-discrimination.

Source Details

Publication Date: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018