In commemoration of the service of the longest serving community college president in the Los Angeles Community Colleges District’s history as well as in the state of California–from 1976 to 1995 (19 years)–the faculty and staff of LA Trade-Technical College honored former Los Angeles Trade-Technical College president, Thomas Lorenzo Stevens, Jr. on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
As they did 18 years ago when “Stevens’ Square” (located outside of the newly constructed Magnolia Hall atrium) was named and dedicated with a plaque of Stevens’ Rules, the faculty and staff honored Stevens’ years of dedication to Los Angeles Trade-Technical College with words of reflection. Dr. Roland “Chip” Chapdelaine, LATTC President; Chini Johnson, emeritus professor of counseling and former Academic Senate president; Dr. Bill Troost, retired public relations and media manager; Mel Berger, former business manager; Helen Beaird, former employment director; Don Misumi, emeritus professor of science, former administrator and union president; Dr. Ned Doffoney, chancellor of North Orange County Community College District; and Academic Senate President, Tom McFall gave beautiful words of reflection. Afterwards, Stevens’ wife, Opal, gave closing remarks and thanked all who were in attendance.
Members of the LATTC Tom Stevens Memorial Committee: Dr. Roland “Chip” Chapdelaine, LATTC President; Linda Cole, GAIN/CalWORKs Director, David Ysais, Director of Publicity; Chini Johnson, Faculty Emeritus; Richard Wells, Physical Education Professor; Toni Johnson, GAIN/CalWORKs Staff; Dr. Ayesha Randall, Accreditation, Faculty & Staff Development, Program Review, SLO Faculty Coordinator; Lori Hunter, EOP & S Staff; Kookie Murray, Veteran’s Office Staff.
For photos of the event, please visit here.
Born April9, 1933, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Thomas Lorenzo Stevens, Jr., the eldest of two children of the late Thomas Lorenzo Stevens, Sr. and Lanier Callion Stevens, passed on January 31, 2013 at Sunray Health Care Center, Los Angeles, California.
Having been home schooled for one year due to illness, he received the remainder of his elementary and secondary education at Merrill High School, Pine Bluff, graduating in 1950. Mr. Stevens matriculated at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas A.M. & N. College) and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1954.
In the difficult employment environment of the 1950’s in which he sought work, he took whatever job that availed itself to him. He drove the Bookmobile for the Pine Bluff Public Library, sold insurance at Watchtower Life Insurance Company in Houston, Texas and returned to Pine Bluff to work in the University’s Business Office. At that time, he married Opal Scott. In 1955, his tenure at this latter position was interrupted when he received greetings from the U.S. Government to report for duty with the U.S. Navy.
Upon discharge in 1957, he returned to pine Bluff again seeking employment, but having no success and in pursuit of a career track, he moved to Los Angeles. Eventually he found work at the U.S. Post Office. Night shift scheduling afforded him time during the day to continue his quest for a solid career path. In 1962, he landed an entry level position with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LACCD). Progressively, he received more responsibility and in 1969, the los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) was created, he migrated to the new LACCD administration.
Mr. Stevens concurrently earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Southern California, while accepting ever increasing administrative duties and responsibilities culminating in his becoming President of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College in 1976, a position he held for 20 years. His combined total tenure was 33 years.
For relaxation, he enjoyed train travel, watching old western motives, boxing and listening to jazz as well as classical performances.
During his formative years in Pine Bluff, Mr. Stevens was a member of St. John A.M.E. Church. He later became a member of Founder’s Church of Religious Science.
He is a past member of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, Twelfth District San Francisco; Boards of Directors Albertson’s Foods, Goodwill Industries, Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC), The Boy Scouts of America, and was affiliated with several political and civic organizations in the Greater Los Angeles Community. He was a member of Kappa alpha Psi Fraternity
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Opal Scott Stevens of Los Angeles; a brother, William C. Stevens (Bettye) of San Francisco; nephew, Keith Courts of Oakland, California and a host of relatives, friends and colleagues.