News Release Archive
These are outdated news releases and advisories that are posted here for archival purposes. 
DECEMBER 2009


December 22, 2009
Former Head Coach Lee Smelser Honored with Retirement Ceremony

This month the College of the Canyons men’s basketball team will retire jersey No. 1 in recognition of former longtime head coach Lee Smelser and his more than 30 years of service to the college.

The College of the Canyons Lee Smelser Jersey Retirement Ceremony will take place Saturday, December 27, prior to the team’s 7 p.m. tipoff with visiting Fullerton College in the Cougar’s first round game of the 20th Annual Cougar Holiday Classic basketball tournament.

As part of the celebration the COC Athletics Department invites all of Coach Smelser’s former players, staff members, friends and coaching colleagues to attend the ceremony.

“Coach Smelser is a man of integrity and someone that I have always admired as both a basketball coach and person.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work for and with him and am honored to participate in this ceremony,” said COC men’s basketball head coach Howard Fisher.
Simply put, the name Lee Smelser is synonymous with College of the Canyons basketball.

A member of the COC Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2005 inaugural class, Smelser built the college’s basketball program from the ground up—beginning with the college’s opening in 1969.

In the 31 consecutive years of coaching that followed, Smelser established a thriving, vibrant program that continues to be successful today.
During his tenure at COC, Smelser guided his teams to five conference championships (1977-78, 84-85, 90-91, 91-92 and 93-94) -- producing 73 All-Conference players along the way and earning Conference Coach of the Year honors four times.

Between the 1990-91 and 1993-94 seasons, Coach Smelser’s teams amassed an amazing 80-42 record en route to three consecutive Western State Conference championships.

After the 2000-01 campaign, Smelser retired as head coach of the men’s basketball team, having compiled a career record of 455-512. However, he continued to serve as an assistant on current head coach Howard Fisher’s team for two more seasons.

“His handprint is recognizable in our basketball program even today,” Fisher said. “The number of former players and coaches who remain in contact with Coach Smelser and still support the program speaks volumes about what he has meant to COC basketball and our community, as well as the influence he has had on me as a coach and a person.”

Smelser also worked in a number of other capacities during his 33 years at COC, serving as the college’s athletic director for five years and head golf coach for two seasons. In addition, Smelser launched the college’s softball team in 1984 and served as head coach through the 1985 season.
In 2002, Smelser was inducted into the California Community College Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.


December 16, 2009
SBDC Named ‘Overall Highest Performer’

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by College of the Canyons was recently honored with three ‘highest achievement’ awards at the annual Los Angeles Regional SBDC Award and Recognition Dinner --including the organization’s prestigious ‘Overall Highest Performer’ award.

The awards ceremony, which was sponsored by the SBDC Lead Center at Long Beach City College and attended by members of the Los Angeles District Small Business Administration, recognized four categories of performance among the network of seven Southern California area SBDC locations.

The Overall Highest Performer award is given to the SBDC with the most significant results in helping clients achieve their economic milestones including: job creation, sales increases, capital infusion, new business startups and long term consulting engagements.

“I am honored to receive these awards on behalf of the 15 expert business advisors who accomplish so much for our small business clients. It’s gratifying to see their hard work and success recognized with these awards,” said Steve Tannehill, Director of the SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons.

In addition to being named the network’s ‘Overall Highest Performer,’ the SBDC at College of the Canyons was presented with both the ‘Highest Capital Infusion’ and ‘Highest Extended Engagement Clients’ awards.

“I also want to acknowledge the support we receive from College of the Canyons and the SBDC’s more than 18 local business and municipal sponsors,” added Tannehill. “This year with their support we were able to access increased amounts of matched federal funding, enabling us to deliver roughly 400 hours of additional consulting support to more than 60 additional businesses.”

The ‘Highest Capital Infusion’ award is given to the SBDC that helped clients obtain the largest amount of capital. In 2009, clients of the SBDC at College of the Canyons were able to secure roughly $5.7 million in debt and equity capital.

The ‘Highest Extended Engagement Clients’ award is given to the SBDC with the largest number of clients continuously engaged in long-term intensive consulting agreements with the center. In all, the SBDC at College of the Canyons served nearly 250 such clients in 2009.

“These awards validate our efforts to influence the economic development of our region by boosting job creation and business retention. Our ability to form partnerships, generate cash and in-kind support for our economic development initiatives continues to be a model throughout the state,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “Congratulations to director Steve Tannehill, SBDC assistant director Catherine Grooms and all the business advisors at the SBDC for their hard work on behalf of small businesses throughout northern Los Angeles County.”

The SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons was launched in January 2006 and serves the Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, and San Fernando Valleys. SBDC business advisors assist prospective and existing small business owners start, retain or expand their businesses by providing workshops, free one-on-one consulting, and many other resources to the business community. 

The SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons is part of a network of seven Small Business Development Centers serving businesses from Santa Barbara County, Ventura County and Los Angeles County.

Earlier this year the SBDC moved its offices into the new state-of-the-art Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, located on the college’s Valencia campus, in order to provide clients with a broader range of training and counseling facilities.

“The combination of consulting expertise, housed at a college committed to economic development and funded by the federal, state and local sponsors found at our SBDC is proving a powerful resource for small businesses in Northern Los Angeles County,” added Tannehill. “We look forward to growing our program and providing even higher levels of support in 2010.”

For more information about the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by College of the Canyons please call (661) 362-5900 or visit www.cocsbdc.com.


December 15, 2009
Valencia Campus to Hold Emergency Response Evacuation Drill

Subject: Emergency planning exercise

Time: 9 a.m. Wednesday, December 16, 2009  

Place: College of the Canyons, Valencia Campus
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA  91355

Event: College of the Canyons administrators will be conducting an evacuation drill and mandatory training exercise on the college's Valencia campus.

The drill will serve to exercise staff knowledge of evacuation procedures, gathering locations for building occupants, emergency radio communication procedures, reporting procedures to a central command post, and a variety of internal actions to be carried out in the event of a real emergency that would require this type of response.

More than a table-top drill, but short of a full-blown emergency response exercise, this is the third exercise of its type on the Valencia campus.
The drill will be carried out largely without students or faculty since the fall 2009 semester final exams are over. However, most full-time staff -- key players in the college's emergency response plans -- will be present and participate.

Regardless of who is on campus that day or what their activities may be, they will be expected to participate in the drill.

Following the evacuation portion of the drill, staff members will gather in the cafeteria for additional, specific emergency response training and discussion.

The event is expected to conclude at about 11 a.m.​


December 14, 2009
Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra Foundation Introduces New President

With a goal to help more of Santa Clarita’s music students receive the enhanced musical education and opportunities they desire, longtime educator Peggy Cannistraci has been named new president of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra (SCVYO) Foundation.

The SCVYO Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports three student instrumental performing groups at College of the Canyons: the Prelude Strings, Intermediate Orchestra and the Symphony of the Canyons.

As one of the few orchestral music programs available to youth in the Los Angeles area, the SCVYO Foundation seeks to support the college’s instrumental music education program for students eight years old and above, regardless of ability to pay.

Cannistraci will work closely with the Foundation’s fellow officers and Paul Sherman, instructor and music director of the COC orchestras, to provide leadership, direction and managerial oversight of the organization and its operations.

Cannistraci takes over the position vacated by former SCVYO Foundation president Sally Angel, who served for 16 years.

“The SCVYO played a critical role in mentoring my daughter and inspiring her to achieve college admission — and with Paul Sherman’s mentorship she achieved a full scholarship to college to play the oboe,” Cannistraci said. “I am so happy to have the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ and help other families provide this amazing opportunity for their children.”

A dedicated educator, Cannistraci is a credentialed math teacher with a master’s degree in mathematics curriculum and instruction from California State University Northridge. She is also the founder and owner of Math Support Services, a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited supplemental school that offers transferable math courses and specialized tutoring services.

Cannistraci is also an active member of the College of the Canyons Foundation Board, as well as the Foundation’s Alumni and Friends program and various scholarship committees — and serves on the college’s Math Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) advisory board.

Included among Cannistraci’s goals as new SCVYO Foundation president is the desire to provide more opportunities for local students to participate in the music programs offered at College of the Canyons and the establishment of additional community partnerships to raise awareness about music education throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Our goal is to reach as many students as possible in order to offer them supplemental music training meant to enhance the instruction they are already receiving from the many talented band directors and music teachers in this community,” Cannistraci said. 

Recently, the SCVYO Foundation partnered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to create a series of 24 master classes hosted by select Philharmonic orchestra members.  

In addition to receiving tickets to LA Philharmonic concerts, SCVYO members will perform a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as part of the International Youth Orchestra Festival being held in March 2011.

“The SCVYO is recognized throughout the community for its superior quality,” added Cannistraci, “and is an organization in which all students are given the opportunity to experience music as an academic discipline, an art form and as a social event.”

For more information about the SCVYO Foundation please call (661) 255-1626 or visit www.scvyo.org.


December 8, 2009
College of the Canyons Students to Present Sustainable Design Projects

As the culmination to a semester-long assignment, this month a group of College of the Canyons architecture and interior design students will present sustainable design projects based on the hypothetical need for a new regional transit center in Santa Clarita.

The assignments were part of the college’s Architecture 200: Sustainable Development and Environmental Design course and its accompanying laboratory requirement.

As part of the project, students were asked to submit a hypothetical design entry for a regional transit center in Castaic Junction — the area around the intersection of I-5 and Route 126 — which would serve as a key component to supporting future public transit connections between Santa Clarita and Ventura County and foster the region’s future growth through sustainable means.

Students were required to incorporate a number of specific architectural elements into the design including: a Metrolink platform area, transit bus turnaround, parking lots and bicycle spaces, interior support areas with a public business center and day care facility and the incorporation of a public art element.

In addition, students were encouraged to minimize the development footprint of their project by designing a compact building area and incorporating sustainable or recycled building materials as a means of reducing the projects environmental impact. The designs were also required to integrate means for generating at least 50 percent of the facility’s power needs through on-site renewable energy sources.

"These students have spent the last six months learning about sustainable design technologies and the LEED Rating System,” explained Jason Oliver, instructor of the college’s Architecture 200 course. “During the design studio portion of the course students had the unique opportunity to apply that knowledge toward solving architectural problems related to real-world issues such as public transit.”

Assisting students in the design process was a $3,000 donation by Lockheed Martin to the college’s Interdisciplinary Sustainable Development Committee. 

Aside from providing students with the materials needed to create their designs, the donated funds will also be used to develop a Website which will highlight the sustainable design strategies explored in the student projects and raise awareness about how sustainable designs can benefit future development throughout the region.

Students from the college’s Architecture 200 course will be presenting their designs at a public viewing from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, December 12, in Mentry Hall room 227, on the college’s Valencia campus. Interested community members are welcome to attend.

Accompanying each submission will be a number of required design exhibits including an overall site development plan and ground level plan, building section drawings highlighting the project’s critical sustainable design features, a physical 3-D project model and design sketches encompassing the various phases of the project.

"College of the Canyons is committed to making these types of student projects as visible and open to the public as possible because of the importance of the topics being explored,” Oliver said. “With such a widespread collective interest in making our communities more sustainable, we encourage everyone to come see the creative solutions these students have generated.”

For more information about the college’s sustainable development and environmental design project presentations please contact Jason Oliver at jason_oliver@verizon.net.

To learn more about the course Architecture 200: Sustainable Development and Environmental Design please refer to the college catalog located at www.canyons.edu​.


December 7, 2009
Nursing Program Students Receive Graduation Pins

Subject: College of the Canyons nursing program graduation and pinning ceremony.

Time: 11 a.m., Wednesday, December 9, 2009.

Place: Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons (PAC)

Event: More than 60 College of the Canyons nursing students will take part in a traditional pinning ceremony marking the completion of each nurse’s training.

Celebrating the accomplishments of newly graduated nurses, the pinning ceremony serves as a symbolic welcoming for all those entering the nursing profession.

As part of the ceremony, COC nursing department faculty members will present each graduate with a nursing pin before the group collectively recites the Nightingale Pledge traditionally taken by new nurses.

Since 2000 the College of the Canyons nursing program has worked diligently to address the statewide nursing shortage -- experiencing significant growth in the process.

Each year a minimum of 100 new students are admitted to the program. Currently there are more than 250 nursing students enrolled at College of the Canyons.


December 4, 2009
Nanotechnology Students Can Find Big Opportunities at Winter Session

As the fall semester draws to a close, registration for the College of the Canyons 2010 Winter Session has heated up with students scrambling to secure the last remaining available seats.

However, students interested in the college’s recently introduced General and Emerging Technologies Laboratory Technician (GETLABTECH) program can begin working toward their educational goals with a pair of open Interdisciplinary Studies (INTERD) courses being offered this winter.

The courses INTERD 010-Careers in Technology and INTERD 090-Health and Safety in the Laboratory will both be offered at the college’s Valencia campus, beginning Monday, January 4, 2010 and running through the first week of February.

The course INTERD 010 provides students with the background needed to evaluate a career path working with chemical, biological, and engineering technologies. Including an overview of each of those industries, the course also provides information about how to access and understand both labor market information and individual career goal setting.

The course INTERD 090 provides students with an orientation to laboratory safety while reviewing safety information and safe behavior practices appropriate to a laboratory setting.

Both are required courses for students working toward the GETLABTECH program certificate of specialization.
Neither course will be offered during the spring 2010 semester.

The Emerging Technologies Institute at College of the Canyons was established to provide students interested in pursuing careers in the sciences a basic understanding of nanotechnologies, practical exposure to some typical tools used for their applications and an understanding of the many possible employment opportunities across a wide range of industries.

Interested students are encouraged to register for classes online or in person at the College of the Canyons Admissions and Records office as soon as possible.

Please see pertinent course information listed below.

INTERD 010-73222
Units: 1.0
5-6:40 p.m. MW
Aliso Lab 113
01/04/10-02/03/10

INTERD 090-73223
Units: 0.5
7-8:50 p.m. M
Aliso Lab 113
01/04/10-02/01/10

For more information about the College of the Canyons 2010 Winter Session and spring semester, or to view a full schedule of classes please visit www.canyons.edu.

For more information about the College of the Canyons Emerging Technologies Institute or the new GETLABTECH program please contact Dr. Ram Manvi at (661) 362-3135 or ram.manvi@canyons.edu​.


December 3, 2009
College to Introduce Medical Laboratory Technology Program

In the Spring 2010 semester the College of the Canyons Allied Health Division will introduce its new Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program designed to prepare students for high-demand jobs in the medical and biotechnical lab industries.

MLT professionals play critical roles in collecting the data and information needed to provide care to patients and/or perform research used in the scientific exploration of many areas throughout the larger medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Certified MLT professionals often find employment in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, public health facilities and other commercial laboratories -- where their training and communication and research skills are highly valued.

According to statistics provided by the United States Department of Labor, a certified MLT technician in the state of California typically earns a median income of more than $38,000 a year.

“Currently, as with all health care occupations, there is a shortage of personnel qualified to work in hospital and biotechnical labs,” said Sue Albert, dean of Allied Health at the college. “The Medical Lab Technician program will help to meet that need for laboratory personnel. Thanks to the support of the local hospitals and biotechnical labs in the area, COC is the first community college in the region to offer such a program.”

Integrating a mixture of classroom lectures, laboratory work and clinical training, the college’s MLT program fosters development of the technical, analytical and problem-solving skills required of this profession.

Students who complete the two-year program will receive an associate in science degree in MLT and be eligible to sit for the national certification exam.

This program will be offered pending approval by the California Community College System Chancellor’s Office and the California Department of Health Services Laboratory Field Services unit.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for enrollment into the MLT program students must have completed English 101 or an equivalent course and at least four units of prerequisite coursework in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, preparatory general chemistry and at least 4.5 units of coursework in phlebotomy.

Application Procedure

Applications for spring semester enrollment into the MLT program can be picked up in the college’s Allied Health office (Aliso Lab room 311) on the Valencia campus.

Applications can be submitted to the Allied Health office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or mailed to:

College of the Canyons
Attention: Allied Health
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355

In addition, applications submitted to the Allied Health office during non-business hours can be left at the campus switchboard located in the college’s administration building.

All applications should include official sealed copies of transcripts from all colleges attended and a copy of a high school transcript, diploma or GED certificate.


December 2, 2009
Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair to be Held at College of the Canyons

College of the Canyons will hold its 20th Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, Saturday and Sunday, December 5, and 6. As in past years, the event will be held in COC’s parking lot 8, near Cougar Stadium off Valencia Boulevard.

The Fair will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, December 5, and in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, December 6, 2009.

More than 40 vendors, representing a wide variety of craft products, will be on hand offering their wares and providing attendees the opportunity to purchase some very unique holiday gifts.

Items will include watercolor paintings and limited edition prints; hand made jewelry; clothing; home made shortbread and other baked goods; holiday cards and decorations; customized gifts and much, much more.

“This is a fantastic pre-holiday shopping experience,” said Seher Awan, the event’s coordinator, “and is well known locally for being the place to find that one-of-a-kind, surprise-your-family experience when gifts are opened.”

Parking is free and plentiful. This annual event is a fundraiser for COC’s Classified Senate and this year half of the proceeds will be donated to the SCV Domestic Violence Center.

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