Friday, May 22, 2009


Citrus College Faculty Member Receives Leadership Award from Assemblyman Eng
by Stacy Armstrong

It seems only logical that Senya Lubisich be selected for the City of San Gabriel’s Women’s History Month Leadership Award.  After all, the San Gabriel resident is fascinated with all things historical.

Not only has the Citrus College history instructor served as a trustee and board member of the San Gabriel Historical Association, she has also led the charge of restoring and preserving Laguna de San Gabriel.  In fact, Lubisich, her husband and two other families formed a non-profit organization, The Friends of La Laguna, in response to the city’s announced demolition of the nautical-themed playground in Vincent Lugo Park.

“My husband and I are both historians and could not tolerate the loss of a playground that was so unique and increasingly rare,” she said.  “We worked to learn the history of the creator, the history of the playground design, and to convince the city that losing this resource would be irrevocable.”

Not only did Lubisich’s efforts lead to the playground receiving a nomination to the State Register of Historic Places and a Historic Structures Report, they also played a role in her receiving the Women’s History Month Leadership Award nomination.

“I was truly caught off guard, but very flattered and honored,” she said.  “In fact, the person who nominated me was originally the target of our community action.  Knowing that she was the nominator is a wonderful confirmation of the relationship between city and community that our efforts have fostered.”

The award is sponsored by Assembly Member Mike Eng.  Lubisich, along with six other women representing the cities of the 49th Assembly District, were recently honored at a reception in Rosemead’s Garvey Community Center.

“I have partnered and worked with amazing people over the last two years, and I feel that this recognition is an affirmation of our hard work,” she said.  “When I was trying to explain what the award was to my nine-year-old daughter she asked, ‘So, does this mean that you got the most help?’  I think she got it right.”

Lubisich, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside, says that her desire to give back to the community is a result of her education.

“I am a product of public schools and my graduate education was funded through fellowships and grants.  I would be selfish to think that those awards were to be used for my own personal benefits and advancement,” she said.  “In some ways, receiving this award means that I have honored my obligations, and I will certainly continue to do so because I believe in public spaces and public institutions.”

This is also the reason why she chooses to work at Citrus College, Lubisich says.

“I wanted to teach at a community college because of the value that I place on community,” she said.  “I never wanted to disappear into an ivory tower, and I feel that the dynamics of a community college will always keep my feet on the ground.”

Lubisich says that being active in the community has made her more effective in the classroom.

“Being a teacher means that I will never stop learning.  Through my work in the community, I have also learned the value of working in public history,” she said.  “It is a delight to see how the public and academic sides of my work intertwine and sharpen one another.”

In addition, her experiences can serve as an example to her students.

“It is wonderful that they can see how leaders of grassroots, community actions can mobilize the community to speak for local resources and values,” Lubisich said.  “It is also reassuring to know that the machine of bureaucracy can be stopped and turned to reflect the concerns of its residents.”




Senya Lubisich