College to induct five people into hall of fame

Joshua Kellogg
Randy Pacheco

FARMINGTON – The San Juan College Foundation will induct five new members to the college’s hall of fame next week, honoring former employees who have contributed to the advancement of the school.

A public ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the college’s Little Theatre, where Jana Wallace, Ann Thompson, Randy Pacheco, Steve Biernacki and Vicki Holmsten will be recognized for their efforts on behalf of the college, said Gayle Dean, executive director for the college's foundation.

Ann Thompson

“I’m excited about this year’s hall of fame. It’s a stellar class,” Dean said.

The class is the 16th group to be inducted since the hall of fame was established in 1997 and the five inductees will join the 72 people previously inducted.

Pacheco said he wanted to thank the community and the college for inducting him into the hall of fame.

Pacheco was the first dean of the School of Energy when it was formed in 2006 and held the position until he retired last year. He also helped raise more than $15 million to construct the new School of Energy building on the college’s main campus.“I don’t think it’s really set in yet, but it’s an honor to join all of the people in the hall of fame,” Pacheco said.

Jana Wallace

Thompson started as an associate professor of computer information systems in 1983 and was the associate vice president for learning when she retired in 2003.

As technology advanced, Thompson said the college was very supportive of her efforts to introduce multimedia resources into classrooms for teachers and students to use.

Wallace was an associate professor of math for 13 years, and she helped organize several grants from the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education and the National Science Foundation.“I had ideas, and Dr. (James) Henderson and administrators were supportive,” Thompson said. “They said ‘Go ahead and do it.’ I felt very fortunate.”

Vicki Holmstein

The grants helped develop teacher-training programs for elementary and middle school teachers in San Juan County.

As an English professor, Vicki Holmsten taught at the college from 1988 until she retired in 2014.“I never thought it would happen to me. I’m just very grateful and humbled,” Wallace said.

During her time at the college, Holmsten introduced women’s literature into the curriculum. She also established the Bisti Writing Project with a grant from the National Writing Project. The project brings together public school teachers to practice creative writing.

Steve Biernacki

Biernacki joined the college in 1992, spending 22 years working for SJC, maintaining the campus facilities and buildings as the director of the physical plant.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.