By Maria Cubillo
A ceremony honoring member of Board of Trustees and former ELAC President Ernest H. Moreno took place last Wednesday with the unveiling of E3 Building’s name, titled Ernest H. Moreno Language Arts and Humanities Building.
The Ernest H. Moreno Language Arts and Humanities building stands at 135,000 square feet, making it the largest building in the California Community College System.
President Marvin Martinez started the ceremony and introduced Moreno. He was followed with speeches by Board of Trustee President Scott Svonkin, Board of Trustee Vice President Mike Eng, and former Writing Center Director Maria Yepes. Eng described Moreno as “Ernest More No; no more to buildings built in WWI.”
When Moreno began his term as president, ELAC was fifth in enrollment of the nine colleges in the district. “He put ELAC on the map, front and center,” Rolando Lonnie Cuevas, former ASU student body president from 1994 to 1995, said.
When Moreno started his presidency in 1993, enrollment was at 13,000.
“ELAC was [the] lost campus of the district when Ernest Moreno came as president,” Yepes said. Eighteen years later, when he retired in 2011, enrollment had increased to 40,000. Under his direction, the campus went from having the least enrollment in the district to being number one.
When Moreno started, the buildings were 20 to 30 years old, the bungalows were from World War I, and the rest of the campus was made up of 50-year-old temporary facilities. Due to decreasing enrollment at the time, ELAC was not receiving much funding.
With enrollment increasing, ELAC began to receive funding. Gabriel Leon, an audience member, had not been on campus since 1985 when he used to pick up his sister. The campus is “unrecognizable and impressive,” Leon said, adding that he walked a little slower to take it all in. Moreno’s vision when he began his 18 years of service was to redesign the college and improve student’s college experience.
His long career in the district depicted his commitment to the ELAC community.
Yepes described Moreno as not having a political agenda. “He changed the culture of the community and got the community involved,” Pat Flood, Moreno’s wife, said. “As president, he was able to see from the students’ perspective and from the faculty’s perspective.”