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Notes on the Active Imagination


Synthesis of Form at Mission College

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In writing the Books of Service series Sacred Blood, I realized people weren’t the only entity cursed as outcast; places and areas also suffered the same fate. That’s what I encountered on entering Mission Community College as its facilities manager –– and, like all outcasts, Mission also had a murky undocumented history.

Somehow, for reasons never made clear, West Valley College (WV) split during the late 1960s, and by the early 1970s, a future-thinking group of individuals had started Mission College (MC).  


But even with their success in forming the new school and securing valuable rental property, Mission was viewed as inferior both academically and spatially to WV. It was as if, they were the outcasts no one spoke of and who would never measure up.  No one ever said as much, but the campus and faculty just had that “vibe.” It was within this depressed state that an African-born vice-president of Mission selected me as facilities manager; and he, like the rest of the administration, gave me full reign over the campus.

What was and has been astonishing during my tenure at MC is the genuine commitment to diversity –– exampled by the staff under my direction and leadership. Few African Americans have the opportunity to manage an academic institution; and even fewer still are blessed with the abundant resources placed at my command.
Due to successful bond measures and a loyal team developed over the years, the future of MC wasn’t only about perception; it was also about what a very diverse group of men and women could accomplish through steadfast teamwork.

With this in mind, I assumed the responsibility of the public trust in order to exemplify what can be achieved when diversity flourishes –– in essence, to dispel the negative perception of MC and turn the sorry old main building into a thing of beauty.

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