College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | CR says goodbye to long-time instructors, staff

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, May 18, 2023 - 1:30pm

The close of the academic year is a bittersweet time. Earlier this month we bestowed academic degrees and certificates to our students in commencement ceremonies in Eureka, Crescent City, Klamath-Trinity, and Pelican Bay State Prison. Commencement is always a joyous time as we honor our graduates for seeing their academic goals at CR to completion and send them off to the next chapter of their lives.

However, we also recently gathered to say goodbye and pay tribute to several faculty and staff retirees at a reception honoring their decades of service to the College of the Redwoods. Saying goodbye to long-time colleagues is never easy, and I can honestly say that the faculty and staff who elected to retire this year are some of the best CR has had to offer.

My thoughts regarding this class of retirees can be summed up by saying that each of these wonderful colleagues has made an immense contribution to all aspects of the college. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to CR and for the time and energy they brought to their work very every day. I am pleased to include them in this College Matters article because each of them has been a source of inspiration to me and to their colleagues for decades.

Dr. Dave Bazard is retiring after 28 years of service teaching geology. Dave used multiple approaches to create an environment where students learn by “doing” and made time for communication among the students and between the students and the teacher. He prided himself on meeting students “where they are” and working with that knowledge base to help them achieve academic success. We are also grateful for Dave’s several years of service as a dean in one of our key instructional divisions. He was a colleague you looked forward to talking to. We all appreciate Dave’s substantial contributions to teaching and service of the college.

Ms. Cindy Hooper is completing a distinguished and inspirational 32-year career as a professor and valuable colleague in the art department. Cindy has been actively involved with students both inside and outside the classroom since 1991. She was instrumental in furthering the goals of the college by giving generously of her time and leadership to improving our institution on several committees and leading the multi-year project of creating the Alice Spinas/Redwoods Collection of Native American Basketry. Among her many public honors, in 2015 she was chosen “Best CR Professor” in the Best of Humboldt issue of the North Coast Journal.

Dr. Diqui LaPenta retired last fall after over twenty-four years of service. She served as a tenured professor in biology and an associate dean of our math and science division. Diqui could be counted on to make time for a colleague or provide advice on topics impacting our college.

Mr. Jesse Wiedel served in our communication and marketing department for over 31 years. Not only was Jesse an excellent member of our classified service, if you’ve worked at CR for any time at all, Jesse has probably helped you out with your printing needs, but he was also behind the scenes writing press releases, creating our social media posts, and taking photos. He is also an accomplished artist and has had many art shows around the county and beyond. His work has been featured in the art magazine Turp Banana and has been interviewed by the Lost Coast Outpost for their podcast, Humboldt Holding Up.

Mr. Paul Chown began working at the College of the Redwoods in 1988. His extensive service to the college includes 35 years in our institutional technology and institutional research and effectiveness department. He’s been a fantastic researcher, mentor, and collaborator, who has made important life-long contributions to CR.

Ms. Roberta Farrar was a long-standing faculty member in the nursing department. Over the years, Roberta served as a mentor for numerous student nurses in our area. She served CR for 23 years and was known for her kindness, thoughtfulness, and wonderful sense of humor.

Ms. Cindy Petrusha retired after five years of service as my executive assistant. Upon her arrival at CR, Cindy quickly established herself as a professional and caring colleague. Cindy left a remarkable legacy in the President’s Office through her collegiality and wonderful sense of humor.

I want to wish these outstanding former colleagues the very best and remember the wise words of Dick Van Dyke: “I found out retirement means playing golf, or I don’t know what the hell it means. But to me, retirement means doing what you have fun doing.”

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.