SANTA ANA : College Will Name Building for Chavez

The Rancho Santiago College Board of Trustees has decided to name a business and computer building planned for its Santa Ana campus after civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.

The board made the unanimous decision at its regular meeting Monday. About a dozen students and community members, many of whom had tearfully urged the board to honor Chavez, broke into applause after the choice gained approval.

“This is a nonviolent place where we change lives, where anyone of any nationality can become anything they want to be,” said Trustee Charles W. (Pete) Maddox before the vote.

“If there’s a message that comes out of this building being named for Cesar Chavez, I hope it’s the message of nonviolence and that there’s hope on this campus,” he said.


Chancellor Vivian Blevins told the board that the exact name of the building would be chosen later, adding that it probably would be something close to “Cesar Chavez Business and Computer Building.” Construction of the $12-million building is expected to begin in June and be completed by early 1996.

Chavez, who championed nonviolent protest, is best known for his orchestration of the massive grape boycotts of the 1960s to dramatize the plight of migrant farm workers.

“He was a great man. He should be recognized,” said Russ Jobin, a member of the United Farm Workers who attended the meeting.

Hailing the decision, Jobin said Chavez would be an inspiration to students: “He accomplished things very simply. He just used words.”