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Hispanic Education Endowment Fund Bestows Award Nov. 2
Cal State Fullerton Alumni Among Apple of Gold Honorees

Nov. 1, 2007 :: No. 87

For their contributions to education, three Cal State Fullerton alumni have been chosen to receive Apple of Gold awards from the Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund.

The alumni honorees are Susan Balas (B.A. liberal arts ’89), who teaches at Loara High School in Anaheim; John C. Hernandez (B.A. sociology ’83), vice president of student services at Santiago Canyon College in Orange; and Fullerton City Councilwoman Sharon Quirk (teaching credential ’87), who teaches at Richman Elementary School in Fullerton.

The three educators and one other — Sharon Saxton, a teacher at Santa Ana High School — will be feted Friday, Nov. 2, at the Hilton Hotel in Anaheim.

A 16-year teaching veteran, Balas has been involved with mentoring programs that aim to build student confidence and success. She’s been recognized for her influence as a mentor, motivator and friend to first-generation Latino students.

Hernandez, a leader in student affairs for 23 years, is responsible for strategic planning, funding and evaluation of student services and programs as vice president of student services at Santiago Canyon College. Previously, he was associate vice president and dean of students at Cal Poly Pomona, and held similar posts at Santa Ana College and Cal State Fullerton. His doctoral dissertation, “En Sus Voces (In Their Voices): Understanding the Retention of Latino/a College Students,” was published in the Journal of College Student Development in 2000.

Quirk has been teaching in the Fullerton School District for more than two decades. In addition to working at Richman Elementary School, where she and her nine siblings attended school, she also serves as a member of the Fullerton City Council. She was elected in 2004 and chosen to serve as mayor pro tem this year.

The Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund was established in 1996 to support scholarships, programs and institutions that respond to the needs of Latino youth, in order to inspire, enhance and improve educational opportunities. The organization has awarded more than $900,000 in scholarships to more than 900 college students in the last decade.

Last year, David L. Pagni, CSUF professor of mathematics, received an Apple of Gold Award for his decades-long contributions to mathematics education.


Media Contact: Mimi Ko Cruz, Public Affairs, 657-278-7586 or

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Susan Balas
Susan Balas

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John Hernandez

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