These outdated news releases and advisories are stored here for archival purposes. 


May 18, 2005

College Graduates 1,153 During May 20 Commencement

The 2005 graduating class at College of the Canyons will celebrate commencement at 6 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2005. One thousand, one hundred fifty three students have applied for graduation. This is a 15.6 percent increase over last year. The class consists of 672 women and 481 men. They will assemble in the central-campus, outdoor Honor-Grove location that has become the traditional site of the graduation ceremony.

This year’s class will receive associate of arts or associate of science degrees reflecting their accomplishments in 42 academic majors. The average age of the class is 25.5 years, nearly identical to last year’s average age of 26. There are four graduates at 17 years of age, and the eldest graduate is 68.

Thirty international students representing six countries will receive degrees this year. Sixty-nine students are graduating from the popular Progressive Adult College Education (PACE) program. The Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSP&S) program will graduate 49 students, and there are 53 students receiving degrees who participated in the Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) program.

The graduating class grade point average (GPA) is 3.01. Sixteen students are graduating as valedictorians, having posted perfect 4.0 GPAs during their studies at the college. The number of honors graduates (those graduating with GPAs of 3.5 or above) is 220.

Michael Calvo (a social science major) and Melissa Parsons (nursing) will be the featured student speakers.

The subject area with the highest number of graduates is Transfer Studies with 407 graduates. There are 108 Social Science graduates, and the Accounting program will graduate 108. The COC Nursing program will have 66 RN/LVN graduates. Ethnic minorities comprise 36.2 percent of the graduating class.

Note to Editors: The graduation ceremony will start at 6 p.m., but seats are expected to fill beginning around 5 p.m. Attendees will be entertained as they wait by the COC Jazz Ensemble.

May 15, 2005

College of the Canyons to Offer Paralegal Program this Fall

To help prepare students interested in a paralegal career, College of the Canyons is introducing a paralegal program with two classes being offered in the fall. This new program will give students the opportunity to explore the paralegal field and is a good introduction for anyone interested in the legal profession. 

“There are not very many fields where in two years you can be a professional,” says Deborah Orlik, the instructor and organizer of the program. “The paralegal field is one of them.” 

The creation of this program began when Orlik realized there was nothing in the area for students interested in the paralegal field. She discovered the demand after surveying and interviewing students at high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley. Orlik approached the dean at College of the Canyons and was put in charge of creating the program.

The paralegal program will continue to add classes each semester until all classes are available to earn an associated degree over the course of two years.

The first class, Paralegal 101: Introduction to Paralegal Studies, is an overview of the history, philosophy and practice of the paralegal profession. It will also introduce concepts, terms and theories used by the paralegal.

Paralegal 110: Civil Litigation, the second class, is an overview of the basic functions and procedures found in a civil law office. Both classes will give students a general overview at the paralegal field.

In the future, classes on ethics in the paralegal field, computer classes specific for a paralegal, and writing and research for the paralegal field will be offered.

These classes are offered during the day for the traditional student and in the evening for the working adult. This allows anyone who is interested in the paralegal or legal field to enroll.

May 11, 2005

College of the Canyons Expands Hours of Admissions Office

College of the Canyons has expanded the hours of operation of its admissions, counseling and student business office to accommodate applications and registration demands for its upcoming summer semester. The college will offer more classes this summer than any summer during its 35-year history, and additional hours are needed to accommodate an anticipated influx of students.

While students are encouraged to use on-line services to apply and register for classes at the college, many still prefer to talk, in person, to admissions personnel. There are a few categories of students, such as current high school students, who are required to apply in person.

New hours for the Admissions & Records Office, located in the college’s Administration Building off Rockwell Canyon Road, are:
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, May 12 to 27
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, May 12 to 27
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, May 12 to June 25

May 11, 2005

New Theatre Academy to be Offered this Summer

College of the Canyons is offering a unique, intensive Theatre Academy as part of its largest summer school in 35 years. The program is developed and taught by working professional producers, directors, actors and designers that comprise the college’s theatre department. The Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts will be used as both an instructional facility and as a performance venue for the program. Students will have the opportunity to learn many aspects of the actor’s craft in this state-of-the-art, high-tech facility featuring both a 926-seat theater with a proscenium stage and an exciting black box venue.

The objective of the Theatre Academy is to provide intensive training for levels of experience ranging from college freshman, to working professional. Classes are available in musical theatre, classical acting, improvisation and acting fundamentals.

Participants will enjoy a unique, hands-on training experience through this program and those who choose to register for all of the academy’s classes will begin their days at 9:30 a.m. and finish up at 9:50 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 11 through Aug. 4.

The productions at the conclusion of the academy provide an opportunity for participants to showcase their talents to agents, casting associates and other college theatre programs.

This program is considered part of the College of the Canyons “for-credit” curriculum, and the four classes that comprise the program range from 1 to 4 credits and are subject to the college’s $26-per-unit fees.

For more information, contact Theatre Department Chair Susan Hinshaw at (661) 362-3991 or Theatre Department instructor Andrea Slominski at (661) 263-9377.

The Theatre Academy instructors are.

Mark Salyer
Musical Theatre
With 15 years of professional theatre experience, Mark Salyer has been associated with more than thirty productions as an actor, director, producer and teacher. As a professor at College of the Canyons, most recently he directed “Big River” the gala opening production for the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts. In June of 2004 Salyer was invited to perform at the International Symposium on Greek Drama in Delphi, Greece. He has served as Guest director at the University of Virginia's College at Wise on several occasions since 1992. In addition, he worked with the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York for the Broadway Musical, Cabaret.

With an emphasis in Opera and Musical Theatre, Salyer has directed in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Virginia. His productions include Madame Butterfly, for Santa Monica Civic Opera, Mennotti’s The Medium for the Los Angeles Opera Theatre Company and Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer, which performed at the Asylum Theatre in Los Angeles. For the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, he directed Schwartz’ Pippin and Godspell, Churchill’s Cloud Nine and Sondheim’s Into the Woods. He is currently collaborating with Carmen Tejada on a new music theatre piece for the operatic voice to be performed in Los Angeles next year

Andrea Slominski
With more than 24 years of professional experience, Slominski received two degrees from the University of Rhode Island, one in fine art and one in theatre, directing and acting. Immediately after her graduation, Slominski became artistic director of the Astor’s Beechwood Theatre in Newport R.I. Following two successful seasons, she opened Risky Business, a musical cabaret theatre in Houston Texas where she co-wrote, directed and produced 11 shows in three years.

Since moving to California, Slomnski has been involved in music production including three albums of folk, jazz and spiritual music as well as private development and promotion of songwriters through the publishing arm of her production company. As a music publisher and songwriter, Slominski is a member of ASCAP. She is also an adjunct professor at College of the Canyons in the Theatre Department, where she recently was an assistant director for Big River. She is a founding director of a new professional theatre company in the Santa Clarita Valley in partnership with Mark Salyer. 
Shannon Levy-Heath
Levy-Heath holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theater arts with a dance emphasis from California State University Fullerton and California State University, Los Angeles respectively. She has trained extensively in ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap and dance for the musical theatre, studying with such notables as the San Francisco Ballet School, Bill Evans, Viola Farber, Roland Dupree, Joe Tremaine, and the American Dance Machine.

Levy-Heath’s professional experience ranges from jazz to modern dance to musical theatre. Her dance company, High Flight, was contracted by the Los Angeles Unified School Distinct to bring dance to students of all ages. From 1985 to 1996, she was a member of the dance faculty at California State University, Los Angeles. Levy-Heath joined the dance faculty at College of the Canyons in January of 2000. She teaches jazz, tap, yoga, modern dance, and dance appreciation. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she choreographs for the department's concerts and is currently co-producing the Fall 2005 concert “Rebuild: Look to the Future.”

David Stears
Classical Acting Studio
David Stears is an actor, director and producer originally from New York. He has been involved in live theatre for the past twenty years. He is a founding member of the highly acclaimed Actor’s Project in Long Island and trained at HB Studio’s in New York. Stears is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts’ School of Theatre. He has produced and directed more than thirty productions and has been involved in more than sixty as an actor.

Upon graduating from CalArts, Stears founded The Santa Clarita Repertory Theatre and was the company’s producing/artistic director until July 2001. Stears developed the company’s educational outreach program, fostering relationships with school districts and working with teachers and professional theatre artists. The SCRT’s Educational Outreach Program reached more than 20,000 students each year, developed nine original scripts, five bilingual plays, dozens of in-school workshops and garnered the support of the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation. The SCRT was the winner of the Los Angeles Times Community Partnership Award (1994) and the Citibank Education award (1994).

Stears was the consultant and producer of four curricular based plays for children as part of the Spotlight Project with the Sulphur Springs School District. Stears also initiated the Summer Theatre Festival/ Shakespeare in the Parks series & Apprentice Programs and designed and opened the new facility for SCRT located in Downtown Newhall.  He is one of the Founding Members of the Arts Alliance in Santa Clarita and has a certificate in Fund Raising from U.C.L.A. He works as an independent producer/director and fund raising consultant, running Stears & Associates, a producing & event management and fundraising consulting company.

Nancy Kissam
Nancy Kissam is from New York where she received her master’s degree in educational theatre from New York University. While in New York, she produced and directed four of her original plays, Shall We Try the Licorice?, Lizzy, Singin’ Inside the Hurricane and Fig and Gator. She is currently working on a fifth piece, Kill. A comedienne, Kissam has worked with sketch comedy groups in New York and Los Angeles. She is producing and directing her first film short with a working title of The Gay Short.

Stephen Whelan
Whalen grew up in Huntington Beach. He received his bachelor’s degree in theatre arts with an emphasis in acting and directing at Cal State University, Long Beach. Stephen participated in workshops conducted by John Houseman and the Acting Company from Julliard, Patrick Stewart and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Stella Adler. He received a broad range of exposure to classical, modern and experimental plays. Upon graduation, he studied with Michael Holmes at the Chandler Studio in Los Angeles where he assisted in teaching Uta Hagen-style technique classes and played Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the dual roles of Posthumous/Cloten in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.

After teaching and directing for two years at the Orange County High School of the Arts, Whelan worked for the film director/producer Martin Brest and on such feature films as Scent of a Woman and Meet Joe Black. After almost eight years in the film industry he returned to teaching at the Orange County High School of the Arts for one year. For the past five years has been the sole theatre arts instructor and director at Valencia High School. Having a passion for Shakespeare, Whalen has directed three separate Shakespearean plays over the past five years in addition to winning several awards in Shakespearean high school competitions throughout the southland. He also holds a Teacher’s Certificate and Master of Education from the University of La Verne.

May 6, 2005

College of the Canyons Gets its Own Fire Truck

Subject: The Fire Technology program at College of the Canyons will receive a fire truck for training purposes from the City of Los Angeles.

Time: Truck will arrive at 1 p.m. Friday, May 6, 2005

Place: Main Entrance to College of the Canyons (Circle in front of the administration building)

Event: Arrival photo op. Superintendent-President Dianne Van Hook will accept delivery of a 1982 Van Pelt Fire Engine no longer needed by the Los Angeles Fire Department as a donation to the Fire Technology program.

May 5, 2005

College of the Canyons Recognizes Classified Employees

Employees at College of the Canyons were recognized for their contributions to the college at an awards luncheon held on Thursday, May 5. The outdoor luncheon was held with the “twist” that board members, administrators and managers served college “classified” employees a catered meal.
Classified employees hold support positions at the college, which don’t require academic qualifications. They are most often the behind-the-scenes people who are responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the college.

This is the ninth year that awards were presented to individuals in several categories. Five awards were presented.

The Employee of the Year award consists of a decorative plaque and $300 cash. The College of the Canyons Employee of the Year was awarded to Kirk Hansen who works in the college’s Maintenance Department. The award recognizes an individual who has made contributions to the college through service to the campus. Additional criteria are overall performance above and beyond regular duties as well as demonstrated leadership. Hansen was cited for “always going above and beyond in everything he does” and, during the period when the college acted as the command center for firefighting activities, he “made himself availableand volunteered for whatever needed to be done.”

The Humanitarian Award went to Cynthia Fernando. She is an Accounting Technician at the college and was recognized for spearheading a fundraising effort on campus and in the community to help survivors of last December’s tsunami disaster. This award acknowledges an indispensable contribution to the college and cites community involvement and dedication. The award consists of a decorative plaque and a $100 cash award.

The New Visions Award recognizes an employee who brings new insight to the job, which improves the college. A positive attitude and providing an inspiration to other employees are key elements in selecting the award winner. The 2005 New Visions Award winner is Human Resources Technician Cara Odell. She was cited for her can-do attitude and her willingness to take on new challenges and assignments. Her award consists of a plaque and a $100 cash award.

A decorative plaque and a $100 cash award also went to Beryl Lawrence, this year’s winner of the Professional Achievement Award. Lawrence works in the college’s Community Extension Office. The award recognizes outstanding performance through educational achievement and a record of excellent job performance. She was cited for her diligence and perseverance, a positive attitude and her hard work at excelling at a full-time job while pursuing an academic degree.

Each year the California School Employee Association (CSEA) presents its Member of the Year Award at this luncheon. This year’s winner was Janine Martinez, an Administrative Assistant in the Admissions and Records office at the college. Martinez served as president of the local CSEA chapter for 4 years and was cited for selflessly representing her fellow employees with dedication, unequaled leadership and tenacity. She received a plaque and a $100 cash award.

May 4, 2005

Region’s Premier Wine-Tasting Event Returns May 28

Tickets are selling fast for the Santa Clarita Valley Wine Classic, the region’s premier wine-tasting event and fundraiser for young musicians. The annual event will return to California Institute of the Arts the evening of Saturday, May 28.

Those who purchase advance tickets will receive a discount from the at-the-door price. Individual tickets cost $70 if purchased by May 27, rising to $80 per person the day of the event.

Ticket prices are as follows:
May 2 to 27: $70 each, $130 a pair
At the door: $80 each; $150 a pair
Designated driver: $35 each
Group sales to May 21: $60 each (10 minimum)
The 17th-annual event promises to be the biggest yet for wine connoisseurs and music lovers, offering a huge variety of wines from both wineries and merchants, gourmet food from some of the Santa Clarita Valley’s best restaurants and catering services, and live orchestral music.

In addition to the latest releases poured by wineries, a number of library wines will be uncorked. A wide selection of current and rare vintage wines will be offered during a silent auction, professional musicians will perform for guests, and vintage library wines will be available for tasting. All guests will receive souvenir glasses and trays.

The event, a fundraiser for the SCV Youth Orchestra, will be held 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 28, in the Main Gallery at CalArts, located at 24700 McBean Parkway in Valencia.

The SCV Youth Orchestra is a three-tiered instrumental educational program that was founded at CalArts in 1969 and moved to College of the Canyons in 1989. The program provides a positive, creative outlet for hundreds of young musicians throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

May 4, 2005

Seniors Invited to College Open House

College of the Canyons is encouraging senior citizens to attend an upcoming open house to learn more about the college and its personal-enrichment programs, as well as celebrate the lives of several seniors who participated in an oral history project.

The second-annual open house and reception, hosted by ALIVE (Association for Lifelong Interest in Voluntary Education) and the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 10 at the senior center, located at 22900 Market St. in Newhall.

The event will showcase the ongoing campus-community collaboration between the college and the center. College representatives will be on hand to discuss a wide variety of non-credit courses that have been specially designed for older adults, as well as tuition-free classes.

Many courses will be offered this summer at the senior center, Belcaro, Friendly Valley Community Methodist Church, Bouquet Canyon Senior Apartments, Canyon Country Senior Apartments, Castaic Lake Senior Village and Sonshine Christian Church.

The lives of several seniors who participated in “Telling Their Stories,” an oral history project sponsored by the college and the senior center, will be highlighted during the event, which also will include a buffet dinner, prizes and guest presentations.

May 4, 2005

State Sen. George Runner to Visit College

Subject: State Senator George C. Runner, District 17, will visit and tour the College of the Canyons campus

Time: 2 p.m. Friday, May 6, 2004 (The visit will last about 1 hour)

Place: The senator will tour the University Center and Performing Arts complexes. This is his first tour of the campus since being elected to the Senate in 2004. He visited the campus several times as an assemblyman.

Event: Senator Runner and his entourage will arrive on campus and transit immediately to the Interim University Center for a tour. He will then proceed to the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts on the COC campus for a tour of that facility and a discussion in the lobby on a number of topics including the college’s business incubator project, the college’s high technology building and college legislative priorities.

Note to Editors: Reporters and photographers are welcome to accompany the tour. Please notify the college’s Public Information Office if you intend to attend.

May 4, 2005

Groundbreaking for High-Technology Building

Subject: Groundbreaking Ceremony

Time: 10 a.m. Thursday, May 5, 2004 (The event should take about 30 minutes)

Place: College of the Canyons, outdoors, West Side of “S” building

Event: A groundbreaking ceremony for the 49,505-square-foot, $17.5 million, High-Technology Classroom Building. The building is being funded in part by the bond (Measure C) that was passed by voters in November 2001 and from a statewide bond measure. When it is completed, it will be the largest building on the College of the Canyons campus.

The building is scheduled to open in late 2006 and will house the business, cinema, computer information technology, computer science, communications studies, economics and journalism programs. It also will include offices and other support spaces required for the programs.
Speaking at the event will be Joan MacGregor, president of the college’s Board of Trustees; Dr. Nancy Smith, interim dean of instruction at the college; and Dr. Dianne Van Hook, superintendent-president.

May 3, 2005

Music Department Ends Season with Trio of Events

The Music Department wraps up its stirring first season in the new Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts with a trio of spectacular events in May as the COC Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band, the COC Choral Ensemble and the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra perform their season finales.

The COC Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band will present May Pops! Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. Performing under director K.C. Manji, the Symphonic Band will present an exciting mix with songs from South Pacific, a Disney medley and pieces by rock legend Chicago, as well as others. The Jazz Ensemble will play songs arranged by former director Dirk Fischer and others such as the Spinning Wheel, originally performed by Blood, Sweat and Tears. Tickets are $7 for general-admission seating.

The COC Choral Ensemble will Shout Glory! the following evening, Saturday, May 14, with its last concert of the year, under the direction of Julie Lawson. Shout Glory! starts at 7:30 p.m. and will feature a diverse selection of music from Handel and Hayden to Renaissance Madrigals, to folk songs, spirituals, jazz ballads and more. Special guest Erica Lazerow will perform as the guest soprano soloist. Tickets are $10 for general admission.

The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra also finishes off its successful first season in the Vital Express Center Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission.

May 3, 2005

‘Glass Menagerie’ Sparkles as Theatre’s Season Finale

One of Tennessee Williams’ finest plays comes to life as the College of the Canyons Theatre Department performs its version of The Glass Menagerie May 6­8 and May 13­15.

“This will be one of our not-to-be-missed shows,” said Theatre Department Chair Susan Hinshaw. “The cast is simply doing beautiful work.”

Considered by many to contain some of the finest writing of the 20th century, The Glass Menagerie tells an autobiographical tale in which protagonist Tom Wingfield struggles to change his family’s luck while stuck in a dead-end and dealing with an overbearing mother. Can a mysterious stranger help turn their fortunes around? Williams’ play changed the American theater landscape and introduced the world to one of its greatest playwrights.

Held in the Black Box Theater in the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts, The Glass Menagerie runs six times beginning Friday, May 6 at 8 p.m. It also runs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 and again at 8 p.m. from May 13-14. Matinee shows will run at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 8 and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 15.​​​​​