Hall of Fame
Garman Jacques Pond
To some, becoming an educator in today’s political environment might not seem appealing. Declining funding for classrooms, smaller salaries than might be earned in other sectors, and less public support with the large size of the baby boomer generation, who do not have children in the public school system, may seem daunting. But not to Garman Jacques (Jack) Pond, who dedicated his 40-year career to education, achieving remarkable success worldwide.
Born in San Diego, CA, Jack’s family moved to Santa Ana when he was in the second grade, then Tustin, and Cowan Heights, CA. Upon graduating from Tustin Union High School, he applied to the University of Redlands, with the intention of following a course in political science and pre-law. To his shock and his family’s dismay, he was rejected. In 1964, Jack entered Santa Ana College, and there he began his journey to his true life calling: the study of languages, for which he had a natural gift, and a career as an educator.
“SAC was the turning point in my life,” Jack explains. “I did not get off to a good start in my first year at SAC,” he continues, “but College counselors spent many hours with me, helping me to pinpoint what areas I was really good in and encouraging me to focus on those. For me this was foreign languages, so that is the direction I went. As I studied Spanish and French, my grades soared. SAC professors taught me that, even if a subject was difficult, if I applied myself, I could succeed. I credit Santa Ana College with putting my life on track and opening the doors to a rewarding student experience and ultimately to a profession I love.”
After earning 66 units at SAC, Jack transferred to the University of Redlands and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and French. Embracing his passion for education for himself and others, Jack continued his far-reaching education at the University of Poitiers, France, where he earned the Certificate des Etudes, quickly followed by the Certificado de Estudios from University of Guadalajara, a secondary teaching credential from the University of Redlands, and then a grant from the Center for Cultural Exchange Between the East and West (East-West Center at the University of Hawaiˈi) that launched his 35-year love affair with the University of Hawai’i’s community college system.
It actually sparked more than a love affair with Hawai’i’s school system, for there Jack found his wife Nancy, who is, to this day, the Vice President at Bank of Hawai’i. His heart is firmly shared by Hawai’i and California, for Jack has two adult daughters, Angela of Hawai’i, and Michelle of Davis, CA, and three grandchildren: Jonathan, 15, and Isabella, 5, of Hawai’i and Lyra, 5 months, of Davis.
Jack’s career criss-crossed the globe. In 1969-71, Jack’s teaching positions took him into Arizona and then Asia. In the winter of 1969 he taught English at the Dilkon School (Navajo Nation) in Arizona for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As part of the Masters of Arts in English as a Second Language program, he provided English Language Demonstration Courses for teachers at the Keio and Sophia Universities, and several other K-12 schools in Japan, before offering similar English Language Demonstration Courses for Teachers at Dunghai University, Taiwan.
Returning from Asia, Jack went back to beloved Hawai’i and earned a Master of Arts in English as a Second Language from University of Hawai’i in 1972. Jack then began a 33-year teaching tenure at Leeward Community College in Pearl City, Oahu. For his extraordinary service, Jack was awarded the Board of Regents’ Excellence in Teaching Award and was asked to be the Acting Dean of Arts and Sciences in 2003.
This was just the beginning; because Jack went on to serve outside the classroom as well. Here are a few highlights:
• Lead Faculty, Orientation Testing, Advising and Registration program, summer and winter semesters for 22 years,
• Creation of nationally recognized learning community program, PASS, which lasted for 22 years and aided thousands of at-risk students, now considered a standard of good practice throughout the country
• Instrumental in strengthening the participatory governance process at the college through his 25 years of service to the Academic Senate, 15 of which serving as Secretary of the Senate
• First Hawaiˈi faculty member to serve as Commissioner for the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges which consists of 134 institutions in California, Hawaiˈi, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Territories of Guam and American Samoa.
In 2004, the Accrediting Commission asked Jack to come back to California to serve as Vice President for Team Operations at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). The significance of this is profound, as Federal regulations press regional accrediting bodies for accurate information. Each college must demonstrate continuous, systematic, planning and improvement of student achievement. As vice president of the ACCJC, Jack tirelessly trains Accreditation Liaison Officers, visiting team members, faculty and administrators involved in accreditation and helping them to succeed in this challenging process.
As a teacher and administrator, Jack’s work has benefited thousands of students, faculty and staff. In Spring 2011, Jack Pond was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus by the University of Hawai’i Board of Regents. Jack is remembered at Leeward Community College for his commitment and service to higher education, but he is known world-wide for his dedication to the mission and ideals of the community college system, and most importantly the students it serves.