visalia — College of the Sequoias inducted four new Hall of Fame members on Oct. 5: Jennifer Conn Shirk, Richard Doepker, Kerry Hydash and Charlie Pitigliano.
Inducting an individual into the COS Hall of Fame is one of the highest awards COS can present to alumni. It is reserved for those that have made significant accomplishments to the betterment of the school, the community and society in general. The contributions take many forms, but always reflect positively on the college. Each honoree has uniquely met these criteria.
-Jennifer Conn Shirk: Jennifer graduated from COS in 1977 with an AA Degree in Communications. At COS she was active in student government and journalism while working at the COS Library. Jennifer was Student Body President her first year at COS. She enjoyed writing and initially planned to have a career in Journalism but along the way she decided that becoming a lawyer would be more lucrative but still enjoyed writing. Jennifer continued her education at UC Berkeley and graduated with a BA in Political Science in 1980. She went on to graduate in 1986 from the University of San Diego with a Juris Doctorate. After college, she worked for three years in the hotel industry and had a wonderful opportunity to travel and meet people from all over the world.
In 1986, Jennifer began practicing law in Visalia. As an attorney Jennifer got involved in the Bar Association’s Law Day program and created a similar program to provide free legal services to family law clients, similar to what the Self Help Center does today. In 2007, Jennifer became Superior Court Judge.
Jennifer finished her first book in December 2016 about a lawyer that gets shot during a family law court proceedings and is almost finished with her second about a respected judge whose youthful indiscretions are coming back to haunt him.
-Richard (Dick) Doepker (inducted posthumously): Dick attended COS 1955-1957 was a pitcher for COS when they won the 1957 California State Baseball Championship. After COS, Dick was recruited by Pete Biden to attend Fresno State as one of their pitchers. During the summer Dick would return to Canada and play baseball for Moose Jaw and Saskatoon in the Western Canadian Baseball League. Dick graduated from Fresno State where he earned a Master’s Degree in History. After graduating from Fresno State, Dick played with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 1959 – 1964.
Dick returned to Visalia to begin his teaching career at Mt. Whitney High School for 13 years where he was also a coach, counselor and dean. In 1979 he began working as the first principal of Golden West High School. For 17 years. He finished his career in education by working for Chapman University as an advisor for many of his former students from Mt. Whitney and Golden West High Schools.
Dick received several awards and honors including; the Golden West Baseball field named after him in 1996; induction into the 1996 Visalia Unified School District Education Hall of Fame; induction into the 2009 Golden West Laureates; induction into the 2009 Fresno State University Baseball Hall of Fame; and induction into the 2012 Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame.
-Kerry Hydash: Kerry attended COS 1994-1996. She then transferred to University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics with an emphasis in Accounting. After graduating from University of California, Santa Barbara Kerry moved to San Francisco to begin her professional career. Kerry later continued her education at California State University, Fresno where she earned her Master’s in Public Administration.
Kerry is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards and committees; she is a past chair for the Visalia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and serves on their Government Affairs committee. She is on the board of the local Workforce Investment Board serving as Chair and serves on the Community Campus Steering committee for A.T. Still University. Kerry also serves on the boards of the California Primary Care Association serving as Vice Speaker, Clinic Mutual Insurance Company serving as Vice Chair, Central Valley Health Network serving as Secretary, National Center for Farmworker Health, and is on the advisory committee for the Insure the Uninsured Project. Additionally, she serves on the Ag Worker Health, Legislative, and Rural Health committees for the National Association of Community Health Centers. In 2016, Kerry co-founded a 501(c)(4) organization, Central California Partnership for Health and currently serves as their board Secretary. In 2012, Kerry completed the Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Clinic Leadership Institute. Kerry’s past involvements have also included chairing the Health Care Sector committee for the local Workforce Investment Board and serving on the Tulare County Symphony board.
-Charlie Pitigliano: Charlie attended COS from 1968-1970. Currently, he is a partner in Pitigliano Farm Services, Inc., in Pixley, with his wife Nancy and their sons, Michael, Josh & Dominic. Charlie and is family are farming the same ground that his grandfather started with in the early 1920’s with his three sons as partners.
Charlie is a member of Sons of Italy, Roma Lodge for 40 years and served as their President in 2005-2009. He is very active in the farming community and has served on many boards and advisory groups; Ranches/Cotton Oil Board, Tulare River Gin Board, Cotton Incorporated Board, Cal Bean Board, Farm Services Agency Committee, Knights of Columbus, World Ag Expo Board & Volunteer Chair, Tulare County Mosquito Abatement Board, JSS Almond Board, Semi Tropic Almond Co-op Board, Tulare Union High School Farm Advisory Committee, and COS Farm Advisory Committee. In many of these boards Charlie has served as president or chair.
College of the Sequoias Community College District is a two-year California community college offering educational and career technical programs for the residents of its district in Tulare and Kings counties. In addition to the campus in Visalia, COS operates a full-service center in Hanford that is home to the college’s police and fire academies. COS also opened its Tulare College Center in January 2013. It is a full-service college center and the home of COS’ agriculture and other programs. For more information about COS, please visit our website.