In legal terms, it takes 18 years for a child to reach adulthood.
Proud, determined, protective, and dedicated, Jan has been described by another board member as “Mama Tiger” when it comes to her relationship with her alma mater. Like many of our students, she earned an associate degree as an adult and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and she’s deeply committed to the idea that students have access to higher education.
Choosing to complement Hereford retirement living with a voluntary life in politics is no small commitment. What on the surface seems like a simple monthly meeting also comes with a need to study the issues and board materials; college-related public appearances, networking, and speaking engagements; and service on related boards and committees that come with higher education trusteeship.
Jan served the college well during a period of significant growth and change, starting her tenure in the same year the college welcomed its ninth president, Dr. Walter Patton. She led the college during selection of its 10th and 11th presidents, Dr. Karen Nicodemus, president emeritus, in 1999, and yours truly, in 2009. This also marked a period of significant enrollment growth; full-time student equivalent grew 208 percent since 1994 and has nearly tripled in the last 10 years alone. Jan was on board during development of the college’s current mission, vision and values, principles that guide its important work, as well as implementation and enhancement of services and facilities in existing and new venues, including online and in Santa Cruz County. She’s proudest of the growth in academic opportunities for local students, and she’s a stalwart believer in local governance of community colleges and accountability to the local taxpayer and resident.
Like many parents, Jan’s excited to see what steps her child will take next. So she can’t just walk away. The college will still seek her wisdom through her role on the Cochise College Foundation board of directors, an organization she joined prior to the Governing Board and which she currently serves as vice president.
Jan’s last Governing Board meeting included a reception honoring her service and welcoming new board member Dennis Nelson of Bisbee, as well as thanks from many college employees and fellow board members.
Jane Strain, board secretary, summed up Jan’s service well. “My thanks to you, Jan, for your visionary leadership, knowledge and expertise of the Arizona community college system and, especially, of Cochise College, as well as for your tenacity during your advocacy work for Cochise. This is the legacy you leave us."
From now on, Mrs. Guy may fill those holes in her calendar with pets and friends and other opportunities, but I have a feeling that Cochise College will always be her baby.