Alumni Stories

Get to know our alumni — Some start their own businesses; others transform huge companies or work to improve the world in the nonprofit sector.

Karen Fanoe Community Leader

“My higher education experience began at Hartnell. Dorothy Wallace (Dorothy Middaugh) was one of my favorite teachers. She got into your soul, she gave me confidence.”

Karen continues to support Hartnell College because of its impact on her life, and the impact she sees it having on this community. “Hartnell made me want to succeed. I was given so much, I had to give back.

Esther Rubio Head Start

“My family valued education. My parents believed and supported my educational goals. I was the 1st in my family to get my degree and five of my six siblings followed that example.

Hartnell is a pillar of this community. My husband and I both went to Hartnell. We have both gotten to where we are, as a result of education. A teacher can change a life. Joe Davey was the most influential professor I had at Hartnell. He told us that no one could ever take your degree away.

Hartnell has a great, rich history in this county. I support Hartnell, because my roots are here. It is a beautiful place that I will always call home.”

Gary TanimuraTanimura and Antle

“I’ve always believed in higher education. Most of my family has been through Hartnell. I and six other family members have gotten a great education at Hartnell.”

Gary, along with the Tanimura Family Foundation has greatly supported Hartnell College over the years. “Part of my success is because of Hartnell and so I want to make sure other kids have this same opportunity.” Gary has included Hartnell Foundation in his estate plans. His planned gift will support a bright future for Hartnell students.

Linda Gin Community Leader

My journey with Hartnell began as a student in the 60’s. Since then, my love for Hartnell Community College has blossomed. I’ve been a patron of The Western Stage since the 70’s and a member of Theatre Arts Council since 2004. Hartnell is important to me and my family because it represents opportunity and a sense of community. Both my children have attended classes and programs at Hartnell at various points in their lives and now my grandson has volunteered for The Western Stage and is enrolled in Hartnell classes. Hartnell runs deep in our roots.

The Western Stage Distinguished Alumni

Dustin Lance Black Screenwriter, Director, Film and Television Producer, and LGBT rights activist.

2009 Feature Film screenplay “Milk”

  • Academy Award: Best Writing for Original Screenplay
  • BAFTRA Film Award
  • BSFC Award
  • Critic Choice Award nominee : Best Writer

2011, Feature Film screenplay “J. Edgar”

Anika Noni Rose, Actor

2004 Broadway production of “Caroline, or Change”

  • Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
  • Lucille Lortell Award
  • Theatre World Award
  • Clarence Derwent Award
  • Drama Desk Award nominee

2006 Feature Film “Dreamgirls”

2009 Disney’s Animated Feature Film “The Princess and the Frog”

  • Disney Legend Award – Animation (voice) – The Princess and the Frog
  • Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture - The Princess and the Frog
  • Black Reel Award- Best Ensemble- The Princess and the Frog

Robert Brill Scenic Designer for Theatre, Opera & Dance, Architectural and Graphic Design

2004 “Assassins”

  • Tony nomination for Best Scenic Design

2009 “Guys and Dolls”

  • Tony nomination for Best Scenic Design

Carmen Borgia Singer, Songwriter, Sound Mixer and Film Sound Designer

2012 PBS Nature “Duckumentary

  • Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Music and Sound (2013)
  • Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Music and Sound (2013)