On Saturday, June 20, 2015, in the penthouse ballroom overlooking the south bay–at the Doubletree Hilton in Torrance, California–family, colleagues, and friends of Abbie Patterson celebrated her 37 years in education. Corey Rodgers, dean of admissions and records of Harbor College was the master of ceremonies. Pastor Charles Williams from Grace Chapel gave the invocation and Dr. Adriana Barrera, Los Angeles Community Colleges District (LACCD) Deputy Chancellor, gave greetings from chancellor, Dr. Francisco Rodriguez. Dr. Otto Lee, president of Los Angeles Harbor College welcomed the guests, and LACCD Trustee, Mona Field, brought greetings from the Board of Trustees. Susan McMurray gave a presentation from the Los Angeles Harbor College Academic Senate. Dr. Regina Smith, vice president of student services at Los Angeles City College shared her experience working with and being mentored by Abbie and gave a wonderful dedication on behalf of the chief student services officers of the LACCD. Other vice presidents, including Kaneesha Tarrant from Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, joined Abbie on stage in a warm tribute.
There was a modern dance performance by Bria Briggs and a lively song tribute by the Supreme Three: Dr. Yasmin Delahoussaye, retired vice chancellor of LACCD; Leige Henderson, retired LACCD administrator; and Alaina Patterson, Abbie’s daughter. They shut the house down in their metallic gold cocktail dresses.
Mercy Yanez gave words from the Teamsters Local 911 and Marco Marrufo gave a moving tribute to Abbie on behalf of the Harbor College Associated Students Organization. Dr. Linda Cole and Paulette Bailey from Los Angeles Trade Technical College presented Abbie with a Lori Hunter custom-made card and gave greetings from Trade Tech. Dr. Cole also recited the nine fruits of the spirit that Abbie exemplified. Dr. Ayesha Randall, interim vice president of the LACCD Black Faculty & Staff Association, thanked Abbie for her years of service to the district and for her past and continual mentorship.
Abbie, the ninth child of twelve, had many of her siblings in the audience who also shared loving tributes to their sister. Her daughter, Alaina, read a poem dedicated to her mother and Abbie’s husband, Rodney, gave a warm tribute to his wife and shared the story of how the two met. The audience was treated to a special video presentation by the Delahoussaye family that highlighted Abbie’s life through pictures and music.
Abbie ended the evening by recognizing many of the special guests in the audience and sharing little anecdotes of each. The evening ended with music and dancing.
Biography of Abbie Patterson
Since 2003, Abbie Patterson has served as the vice president of Student Services at Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington, California. She has worked in education for over 37 years, beginning in 1977 as an assistant recruitment coordinator at California State University, Los Angeles. In 1978, Abbie was hired as a counselor for the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP & S) office at West Los Angeles College. In 1984, she became the director of the program.
Abbie’s administrative career began with her selection as an assistant dean of Student Activities at Los Angeles Trade Technical College in 1987. Over the next sixteen years, Abbie steadily moved up the administrative ranks at Trade Tech, becoming an associate dean of Admissions and Records, senior dean of Student Services in 1991, and later receiving a title change to Vice President of Students Services in 1999. Abbie was very active for seven years in the Chief Student Services Officers (CSSO) statewide association as the past president, president, vice president, and region representative.
Abbie enjoys working with community college students, especially first generation college students and those who have been given a second chance to complete their career goals. She also admires the thirst for knowledge from these populations. As a vice president, Abbie was able to provide students with access to services, including admissions and records, counseling, financial aid, accommodations for students with disabilities, athletics, math and English assessment, orientation to college, and the student heal center. In addition to serving the needs of Harbor College students, Abbie served the college community in her role as senior manager where she reviewed campus policies and procedures, budgets, and planning for completion of new campus buildings funded by bond monies.
After graduating from Los Angeles High School Abbie completed her bachelors of arts degree in psychology in 1975 from Pomona College. In her senior year at Pomona, Abbie won the Honnold Graduate Fellowship, which she used to attend the George Peabody College of Education in the Vanderbilt University Graduate School located in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1977, Abbie received an MS in Human Development Counseling.
Abbie has been married for over 31 years to her husband, Rodney, who is a retired community college political science instructor and former academic senate president. They have three adult children–two sons and a daughter. In Abbie’s spare time, she enjoys participating in community activities, reading novels, and traveling with her family.