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On the Town: Glendale Community College celebrates 90th anniversary with big bash

Actress Angie Dickinson (middle) is surrounded by her escorts Paul Brodsky and wife Mary Brodsky. (
Actress Angie Dickinson, center, is accompanied by her escorts Paul Brodsky and his wife, Mary Brodsky.
(Photo by Ruth Sowby)

In 1927, Glendale Junior College was founded. At first, classes were provided in the buildings of Glendale Union High School at Broadway and Verdugo Road in Glendale.

Ninety years later, now named Glendale Community College, its Verdugo campus consists of approximately 100 acres and 18 permanent buildings. There are nearly 21,000 credited students and 8,000 non-credited students enrolled every year, according to college officials.

To mark its humble beginnings and current growth, the college’s 90th anniversary celebration was held on Sept. 30 on its main campus on the slopes of the San Rafael Mountains. Co-chairs were Ellyn Semler and Mike Haney. The event’s theme, “Reaching for the Stars,” was appropriate for the balmy evening’s sky, full of stars.

A star of another kind, actress Angie Dickinson, made a grand entrance into the San Gabriel Plaza. Dickinson is best known for her role as Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson in the TV crime series, “Police Woman.”


The actress was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Dickinson is an alumni of the college. Word is, when she wasn’t studying hard, she could be found eating a Big Boy hamburger and French fries at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Burbank.

The Bistagne family, of Bistagne Bros. Body Shop fame, was honored as “Philanthropists of Distinction.” Since 2007, the Bistagne Family Scholarship has been offered to a Glendale Community College baseball player transferring to a four-year school. Local college alum Brian Bistagne had been drafted by the Minnesota Twins.

The “Outstanding Alumnus” honor went to Gene “Chip” Stone, who is founder of the Stone-Beck Group. He lends his services to the college’s finance committee.

Introducing the honorees was master of ceremonies Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times columnist and editor. Front and center was Erskine’s gentle humor.


Glendale VIP’s attending were David Viar, Glendale Community College’s superintendent/president, Dr. Armine Hacopian, president of the college’s board of trustees, Gary Montecuollo, the college’s police chief, Glendale City Councilwoman Paula Devine with her husband, Art, and Glady Kabateck, member of the college’s 90th anniversary committee.

Kudos must be given to Lisa Brooks, executive director of the Glendale College Foundation, for a heavenly evening.

Honorary Committee co-chairs and Glendale Community College philanthropists Bhupesh Parikh and wife Kumud Parikh (second from right). From left are daughter Arju Pariku, son-in-law Steve Perushek, daughter Apala Perushek and (extreme right) daughter Ellor Parikh.
(Photo by Ruth Sowby )

Evening of Wine and Roses

The Evening of Wine and Roses is one of the hottest tickets in town. This was the 30th annual fundraiser put on by the Glendale Memorial Health Foundation this past Sunday. It was held at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. A sparkling reception and silent auction kicked off the evening’s activities — all under the gentle supervision of event chairpersons ophthalmologist Kathleen Dennis-Zarate and Haig Youredjian.

After a succulent dinner of steak and salmon, EdwinEddie” Johnston was posthumously awarded the hospital’s “Humankindness” Award. Johnston, having passed away earlier this year, had been a co-chairperson of the Glendale Memorial Health Foundation.

He was responsible for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the hospital.

After the award ceremony, Dr. Santo Polito welcomed his audience of some 400 hospital supporters. Polito is chairman of the Glendale Memorial Health Foundation. He described some of the changes at the hospital he has seen in his 50 years there. One of those is the expansion of emergency facilities from its start as only one room.

Next to speak was Julie Sprengel, president for Southern California at Dignity Health. She described the hospital’s upcoming renovation of its second floor for improved outpatient services. The remodeled space will change the hospital’s gastroenterology lab into a state-of-the-art facility.


To meet these goals the hospital’s “Humankindness in the Making” initative seeks to raise $5 million over three years.

Glendale International Film Festival

Movie buffs, don’t forget the Glendale International Film Festival’s Red Carpet Gala on Friday at the Alex Theatre. It will feature the restored version of “The Godfather.” Velvet Rhodes, festival director, always puts on quite a show.

RUTH SOWBY RANDS may be reached at