Dr. Willard Lewallen receives Distinguished Alumnus Award from Cal Poly Pomona

Publish Date: 
May 1, 2018

Distinguished Alumnus Award for Dr. Willard Lewallen

Cal Poly Pomona bestows high honors on Hartnell’s Superintendent/President


SALINAS, Calif. – On Friday, April 27, 2018, Cal Poly Pomona and its Alumni Association honored Hartnell College Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen (’78) with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Athletics category. 

This was the 58th Awards Gala held at the Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona “honoring nine alumni who have achieved extraordinary success in their chosen fields, thus bringing distinction to themselves, their community, and their Alma Mater,” said University President Soraya M. Coley.

“It is very humbling to be named a Distinguished Alumnus for Cal Poly Pomona. I am just an average kid from Pomona who was provided extraordinary opportunities during my life,” expressed Dr. Lewallen. “I am truly standing on the shoulders of those who lifted me up along my path...my parents, teachers, colleagues, mentors, coaches, and most importantly for the last 36 years, my wife Michele and my children.”

Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen is a native Californian and a product of the California public education system where he graduated from Garey High School in Pomona. He completed a B.S. degree in Kinesiology with honors at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and was a member of the 1976 national championship baseball team, which was inducted into the Cal Poly Pomona Athletics Hall of Fame on February 17, 2018. He was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship at Purdue University where he completed two master’s degrees. He completed a Ph.D. in education at UCLA.

Under his leadership, Hartnell College has increased degree completion by 90 percent and increased student transfer by 56 percent. Lewallen says he was attracted to the field of education early in his college years because he saw an opportunity to help young people grow and develop, to help them reach their goals and dreams.

Prior to joining Hartnell, Dr. Lewallen served as a faculty member and administrator for several other California community colleges, including President of West Hills College in Coalinga. He has also served as a n adjunct professor in graduate studies at Chapman University in Orange and University of La Verne.

The elegant dinner program was filled with proud family and friends rooting for the recipients of such honorable award.  With Lewallen were his wife Michele, daughter Jennifer, son Kasey; friends Dr. Lionel and Deb D’Luna; David Hunt; Praful Kulkarni; Trustee Candi DePauw; VP of IT, David Phillips; Director of Communications, Esmeralda Montenegro; and Hartnell supporters and friends, Vivien & Butch Lindley.

Dr. Lewallen's record of leadership, scholarship, achievement, accomplishment, community involvement, and service are documented in his curriculum vitae, which can be accessed at  http://www.hartnell.edu/sites/default/files/Library_Documents/president/docs/willard_lewallen_-_cv.pdf.

His wife of 36 years, Michele, served as a faculty member at Antelope Valley College for 30 years teaching health and physical education and also serving as a softball and basketball coach. They are the proud parents of Jennifer (32), Kasey (30), Parker (28), and the proud grandparents of Mina. He and Michele lead physically active lifestyles that include a commitment to physical fitness and health. They have both completed the Los Angeles Marathon twice and Michele has completed several other marathons and triathlons.

To set up interviews with the Superintendent/President, contact Lucy Serrano at 831-755-6900.

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.                                                      ###