By Daniella Molina
Ernest H. Moreno worked to bring state of the art facilities not only to East Los Angeles College students, but to all students within the Los Angeles Community College District.
Moreno served as ELAC president from 1994 through 2011 and was a member of the Los Angeles Community College district for 42 years. He is now a trustee of the LACCD.
As a professor, Moreno taught business administration, supervision and management. In addition to those classes, he also taught labor relations all at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College from 1976 to 1986, and political science at West Los Angeles College from 1986 to 2006.
He is a native of Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley.
He attended Cal State University, Los Angeles where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree.
He then earned a Master’s in public administration from Cal-State University, Long Beach.
What started as a vision in the mind of Moreno is the reality on campuses across the district.
“He started with the E7 Building. As more and more people saw what it was like to have a building like E7, more and more people started jumping on the bandwagon that they wanted to get a bond through,” Jean Stapleton, chair of the Journalism department, said.
Moreno is responsible for changes that led ELAC to be one of the largest community colleges in the nation.
He saw the rundown classrooms, lack of up-to-date facilities and strived for a better situation for the college.
Students from a Journalism 101 class asked Moreno what he had hoped to accomplish during his term.
“I want to leave a legacy at this school,” said Moreno.
Despite being heavily criticized, Moreno’s efforts are the reason ELAC and other campuses’ look and function as they do today.
“He wouldn’t spend all the money. He kept holding back the money. He actually saved the whole district. Because when bad times came, when the recession came back in 2007, he had saved millions of dollars, which then the district used as their reserve. Otherwise we would have been in deep trouble,” Stapleton said.
Today, you look around and see the contributions that have become Moreno’s legacy.
The Language, Arts & Humanities E3 building was named in his honor.
It is a 135,000 square foot building with five stories and 40 classrooms.
“Ernie was out there all the way, started getting the plans out, getting things to be built. The campus would not be what it is without Ernie and he did get the credit, with his name on the E3 building. I think he did something really wonderful. His legacy is the physical plant of ELAC,” Stapleton said.