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Local educators receive ‘Monty' award from SDSU Alumni Association

April 28, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

Two local educators received the distinguished "Monty" award from the San Diego State University Alumni Association on Friday.

John Anderson, Imperial County schools superintendent, and Dana Murphy, SDSU professor, were recognized for their dedication to the university and the community in Friday's ceremony at the Marriott Hotel and Marina in San Diego.

The Monty awards are given to distinguished alumni and faculty from each of SDSU's seven academic colleges, including the Imperial Valley campus.

"I feel very honored by San Diego State University," said Anderson of his award.

Anderson earned his bachelor's degree from Stanford, a master's degree from University California, Los Angeles and a secondary teaching and administrative services credential from SDSU.

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He was nominated for the distinguished alumni award by Al Merino, associate dean for academic affairs at SDSU-IV.

Merino called Anderson "a bright, outstanding, good man," and said he nominated Anderson for the award based on his leadership.

"He is proactive, sensitive to people, a visionary, a good listener, a good team builder. Everywhere he's had a job he's been successful," Merino said.

Raised in Calexico, Anderson has been involved in education in Calexico, Brawley and El Centro.

Anderson began his career teaching at Calexico High School.

While he loved teaching, he decided to move to an administrative position because he thought he would do a better job in "helping the adults who are helping kids … to help prepare adults to be good leaders."

Anderson first was an assistant principal at Calexico High, then its principal.

He has been superintendent in both the Brawley Elementary School District and the Central Union High School District in El Centro.

"I learned a lot from the Brawley elementary teachers. I have fond memories from that time," said Anderson.

During his time as superintendent of the Central district, Southwest High school was constructed and Anderson had the responsibility of dividing students and teachers.

He said he has "a lot of good memories" from his time as superintendent of the Central district, adding one he will always remember is "watching the evolution" of the building of Southwest High.

"That was a lot of fun," Anderson said.

He continued, "The Valley has been very good to us. It has given me a lot of opportunities I will always treasure."

He said the most rewarding experience he's had as the county superintendent has been working with the staff at the county Office of Education.

"I am continually amazed at the great job people who work here do," he said, adding the attitude of his co-workers is, "if we're going to do it, we're going to do it right. That's an indicator of how great a place this is."

Murphy received the distinguished faculty member award.

Murphy joined the university in 1980 as an assistant dean and was an associate dean and acting dean before becoming a full-time professor of political science and public administration.

"He's top-notch," said Merino of Murphy, adding, "He's highly respected by the faculty."

Murphy said of receiving the award: "I am really most gratified that my colleges thought that highly of me … it's a high honor."

He has worked for the University of Washington and University of California, Berkeley before coming to the Valley and San Diego State.

"It looked like a good opportunity. … It's been a wonderful experience for me personally and professionally," Murphy said.

Murphy received his bachelor's degree from Harvard, his master's degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and his doctorate from the University of Washington.

Murphy said the most gratifying experience has been "the feeling of helping students and providing an educational opportunity which they might not have been able to have because of our remote location."

Both Murphy and Anderson have been active in their communities and are members of the Kiwanis Club of El Centro.

Murphy is on the board of the Imperial Valley Housing Authority, has served as a member of the executive board of the United Way of Imperial County and has chaired the state employees campaign.

Anderson is the chairman of the Interagency Steering Committee, is the president-elect of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce board, is a member of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society, Imperial County unit and has served in various capacities for other community organizations.

Said Murphy, "It's especially nice to be recognized with John Anderson, who I have the utmost respect for."

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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