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College Foundation Names Hall of Fame Members

The Columbia College Foundation will host its 14th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Apr. 7 to recognize the six newest recipients of this prestigious college honor. Honorees are Patte Coombes-Baldwin, V. Peter Sullivan and Ron Roberson. In addition, Joseph K. Mitchell, Patricia Pantaleoni and Norine Holmes will be named to the Hall of Fame, in memoriam.

Hall of Fame Awards are presented to individuals from the community, faculty, staff, student body and alumni, who have demonstrated exemplary voluntary leadership to Columbia College, or provided resources to further the college´s mission. Organizations can also be nominated for this recognition.

Nominees for Alumnus of the Year must be graduates or transfer students of Columbia College for at least two years prior. The alumnus must also have made significant contributions in at least two of three categories: Columbia College, community/civic organizations, or his/her chosen profession.

Patte Coombes-Baldwin, a Tuolumne County physician for more than two decades, is recognized in the medical reference book, American Way of Birth as an expert in childbirth.

According to her submitted nomination, “While raising her own three children and making a significant mid-life career change, she overcame many personal obstacles and was an inspiration to those around her through her positive outlook on life.”

Coombes-Baldwin is also a gifted musician, who shares her talents with the local community as a member of the Symphony of the Sierras and her church as the congregation´s organist. Further, she continues to volunteer her personal time and resources to area organizations, such as Interfaith, the Sheriff Department´s Program for Abused and Abandoned Children, and the Columbia College Foundation.

V. Peter Sullivan is a retired Columbia College faculty member, who laid the foundation for the development of the school´s intercollegiate programs in the early 1970s. He initiated the first co-ed tennis team and supported a wide range of sports, including skiing, golf and cross-country over the course of his educational career.

Sullivan transferred from Modesto Junior College to Columbia College when the fledging campus first opened in 1968 and served there until his retirement in 1992. He was instrumental in initiating the health and physical education programs of the college by working closely with local business, school and recreational facilities to ensure that the programs would meet the needs of the student population.

He was the college´s athletic representative for many years and played a key role in coordinating all facets of the newly established department so that by 1974, it supported a wide selection of new classes, taught by four full-time and ten adjunct faculty.

Businessman Ron Roberson, who was named Alumnus of the Year, was raised in Tuolumne County, is a graduate of Summerville High School, and received an associate degree from Columbia College in 1981. He later transferred to California State University, Sacramento where he attained a degree in accounting in 1983. He also earned his license as a certified public accountant in 1985 and presently is part owner in the accounting firm of Hohne, Hoyt and Roberson in Twain Harte.

Roberson has been a strong advocate of the college, served as an adjunct faculty member in past years, was a member of the school´s Business Department Advisory Board, and was a board member of the Columbia College Foundation for several terms.

Along with being a professional speaker at tax training programs across the country, his list of community involvement includes Twain Harte Rotary, 11 years; Soulsbyville School Board of Directors, 12 years; Tuolumne County Girls Softball board, 8 years; and Summerville High School softball coach, 5 years.

“We´re also adding three others to the Hall of Fame, whose dedicated efforts have made a real difference at the college,” said Sue Ellen Harwood, executive director of the Columbia College Foundation. “Joe Mitchell, Pat Pantaleoni and Norine Holmes passed on in recent months and are deeply missed by all.”

Hospital administrator Joe Mitchell, who was a strong supporter of education and the development of youth, served on the Yosemite Community College Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2003 and represented Area 1, which consists of Tuolumne, Calaveras and eastern Tuolumne Counties. “He was a very highly respected community leader during his lifetime,” said Harwood.

Pat Pantaleoni, former administrative assistant to the college president, worked in key staff positions at the school for nearly 18 years. She officially became a member of the Columbia College Foundation Board of Directors in 2001 although Pantaleoni had been involved for years in almost every function of the organization from fund-raising to coordinating social events.

Norine Holmes, a 33-year resident of Sonora, was employed for 24 years at Columbia College in various student services and instructional department positions. She is best remembered for her care, concern and support for those around her, fondly earning her the nickname “mom” by many adjunct faculty members.

The Hall of Fame dinner will be prepared by the college´s Culinary and Pastry Arts Department, and will be served in the Rotunda of the Manzanita Building. A special wine and cheese reception starts at 6 p.m. with dinner and the awards ceremony following from 7 to 9 p.m. Entrée selections include a choice of roasted tenderloin of pork medallions with wild mushroom/marsala sauce, or coconut crusted prawns with tropical fruit salsa.

The general public is invited and tickets are $45 per person, which can be obtained from the college president´s office at 588-5115. Reservations must be received by April 2. Dinner attire is recommended, and all proceeds will benefit the Columbia College Foundation.