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GCC professor given award for years of leadership

Gordon Alexandre is given the Parker Award for years of leadership to GCC faculty.

September 02, 2011|By Megan O'Neil,
  • Glendale Community College professor Gordon Alexandre stands proudly as GCC administration and staff stand to applaud Alexandre who was the recipient of the Parker Award, at the college's Student Center on Friday, September 2, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Glendale Community College professor Gordon Alexandre…

Gordon Alexandre has never shied away from confrontation.

As a student at UCLA during the 1960s and ’70s, he rocked an enormous afro while serving as a vocal grass-roots organizer. Later, as a history professor at Glendale Community College, he held key faculty union positions for two decades, taking on administrators and trustees with glee.

On Friday, his colleagues celebrated his willingness to confront and engage, giving Alexandre the Parker Award, bestowed annually on a faculty member who demonstrates exemplary service to the college.

“I have been active in an oppositional organization for well over 20 years,” Alexandre said. “I have been a pain in the neck for the administration for well over 20 years. I have been a thorn in the side of the board for many years. So to get an award for being a pain in the neck is actually gratifying.”

First presented in 1993, the award is named after its inaugural recipient, former Glendale Community College philosophy professor William L. Parker.


“Gordon has been a member of the campus for a long time, and he has always been someone who cared deeply about the campus and what is going on,” Academic Senate President Mike Scott said.

After earning his doctorate from UCLA in 1979, Alexandre began teaching at a private North Hollywood high school while picking up an occasional college class. When a full-time position opened up at Glendale in 1984, he debated and then took it.

“I decided that I wanted to give back more than I could at a private college-prep high school,” Alexandre said. “I thought community college was where I wanted to teach.”

There, he began team teaching with economics professor Steve White.

“We had a unique way of team teaching our class,” said White, who is now retired. “One of us would lecture, and the other would sit with the students and we would trade off. What we would do is basically ask really hard questions when we were sitting with the students in order to try and get them to participate in give and take.”

Sometimes they took their efforts a step further, showing up to class in character. When students began studying the drafting of the United States Constitution, for example, Alexandre assumed the role of Thomas Jefferson and White played Alexander Hamilton.

During the industrial revolution, it was Andrew Carnegie and Karl Marx.

They always judged the success of a class based on how fun it was, White said.

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