LBCC Hall of Fame Honorees
By Dianne Anderson
Perseverance to the top of their career paths, and a strong dedication to give back to the community are a few of the finer attributes that Long Beach City College looks for in their distinguished Hall of Famers.
Paula Barrow, director of Development and Alumni Relations with the LBCC Foundation, said their inductees all have the qualities that mark true success. Not only do they contribute to the community, but have also surmounted personal struggles along the way.
She is excited to present their five honorees for 2020. Among them, concert promoter John Malveaux,’ retired Long Beach Police Commander Charles Parks a single father of three working his way up the ranks; and educator Cynthia Terry, a principal in the city of Long Beach for 35 years; caryn desai, artistic director of the International City Theatre, and Duke Givens, whose photographic exhibits are often the talk of the town.
Originally, the Hall of Fame event was created by the Associated Student Body in 1972 to honor students who excelled in their chosen professions, yet managed to serve their community with skills and passion.
That event started small in the gym.
“Now it’s a much more robust celebration, we’ve been hosting it at the Grand the last couple of years. We have people that want to honor the inductees, but we also have people come and celebrate the college,” Barrow said.
Because LBCC is a respected community institution, the event always draws a big house, often around 200 in attendance, including the Board of Governors, community partners, the ASB cabinet and students in leadership positions at the college.
It is a major ceremony, but like most events since the pandemic, the 2020 reception is an internal celebration this year, she said.
Community colleges are often viewed as a stepping stone toward four-year degrees, but Barrow said there are numerous certificates and trade opportunities available. Some even see LBCC as top-of-the-line, comparable to higher degrees.
“We had one honoree who passed away a couple of years ago, he was very accomplished. He went on to Stanford and said the education he received at LBCC is actually equivalent to what he was getting at Stanford,” she said.
She said this year’s alumnus Hall of Famer Duke Givens is a great example of taking skills acquired at the college, while continuing to give back to the community by working closely with the homeless population.
After returning from Desert Storm over 30 years ago, Givens said his parents bought him a camera. He found an LBCC course in black and white photography that changed his life.
Givens grew up during the drug epidemic as gangs were proliferating across the city. Calvin Broadus, AKA Snoop Dogg, was a good friend.
“We graduated as high school buddies, we were supposed to go into the Air Force together. He wanted to go in the direction of entertainment, but I joined the Air Force out of high school,” he said.
Once returning home, he developed his craft at the college and went back to take some shots of Snoop and the guys.
“Snoop liked it so much he made it one of his album covers. I started to see the photography had some life to it,” he said.
Givens also made an impact with a Stop the Gang Violence calendar, opening up other community doors during the 90s. He went into neighborhoods taking pictures of Black men and youth, and asking them to cut ties with gangs. The calendar became a yearbook of sorts, and a source of pride in that neighborhood. The project was recognized by NAACP and the state congress.
To this day, he never tires of capturing the moment, and always remembers where he first developed his skills.
LBCC has also hosted his gallery entitled Power of Choice, an exhibit showing those who have chosen to either serve the community or harm the community,” he said.
Recently, he established a nonprofit working with the homeless, and giving them jobs. He went down to the gutters and flood control to get about a half dozen workers, paying them to clean up the freeways.
“People were literally living underground, it’s an amazing community,” he said. “It is starting little portions of rehabilitation. They are doing a great job.”
He applauded LBCC educators and mentors that he said continue to provide wonderful support for the community, but he emphasized, it’s much more than a college.
“To me, it’s a Long Beach City College University,” he laughs. “LBCC puts out some amazing people who have served Long Beach in the best of ways.”