Melinda Rudibaugh, Faculty Emeritus, says that she was “blessed to be a full-time math faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) for nearly 30 years.” She started there as an adjunct while in graduate school, right when the college started, and has truly enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie she’s had since the very beginning. “We knew all the employees and felt like we knew all of the students,” she said. “I loved my job teaching and later as a division head, helping the faculty. Our leaders inspired a student centeredness that has shaped my career.”
Today, Melinda helps students and faculty by supporting the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. “I see the Foundation as a way to provide scholarships to students who not only are in need, but who excel in academics and motivation,” she said. “I think Maricopa is always at the forefront of developments that enable students to succeed.”
During the pandemic, Melinda has seen students struggling. “There’s no campus life, no clubs, no recreational opportunities, no professors’ offices in which to get some help. Many students need technical support along with academic and financial support,” she said.
She was struck when several instructors noted students skipping meals because they couldn’t afford food. “Personally, I witnessed in teaching classes for faculty, that there were adjunct in nearly the same straits,” she said. “Supporting Food Assistance Funds and Emergency Funds can be a small way to help keep students in class when they just need a meal, help with transportation or an unexpected expense.”
In addition to the emergency funds she supports, Melinda contributes to many other of the District’s giving opportunities and her family has created an endowed nursing scholarship and recently an engineering scholarship program. “We see this as a way to support students in critical fields and al so as a way to help grieve a loss,” she said. ”The more time one can invest in the lives of students, the more one is enriched.”
The Maricopa Community Colleges have played an important role in Melinda’s life not only professionally, but personally as well. She’s even taken classes herself at Glendale Community College and Mesa Community College (MCC). “I had fabulous instructors,” she recalled. Proudly Melinda shared that her children took courses at MCC, Phoenix College and CGCC to begin multiple degrees that they received as teenagers. “Again, the evidence of dedicated faculty and staff is there,” she exclaimed.
“College may not be for everyone,” Melinda said, while recalling her many years with the District.” But, for those with the perseverance to make it through, maybe we can all help to remove some of the obstacles.”
Community college students have very complex lives and often need just a little bit of help to make it through. It was heart-breaking to hear from a student who dropped a course because his book was lost and/or a student who could not make it to class due to car problems. – Melinda Rudibaugh