Some would say Gary Golden truly left a legacy at San Juan College. He always had students’ best interest at heart. He served as Vice President for Student Services at San Juan College from 1991 until his unexpected passing in 2004. He worked with and served students in his administrative roles both at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and at San Juan College.
“Everyone loved working with Gary,” says Gayle Dean, executive director of the San Juan College Foundation. “He laid the foundation for student services at the College.”
Gary’s widow, Kathy Jo Golden Myers, and youngest son, Greg, currently work in education. They credit Gary’s role in education for inspiring them to also serve students.
Kathy Jo serves an adjunct instructor at the San Juan College Dental Hygiene program and is a member of the San Juan College Foundation Board. “Gary’s active involvement in the community and in education shaped us as a family,” states Kathy Jo. “His passion for students and education greatly influenced us. In my role at the College, I understand how important education is for students and how it can change their lives.”
Kathy Jo has served on the Foundation Board since March of 2014. In addition, she teaches second year dental hygiene students. “I didn’t major in education, but am drawn to it through my profession. I love seeing the ‘lights come on’ in students when they learn something new. Teaching is rewarding and also an opportunity for me to serve.”
Greg didn’t anticipate making education his career. When tasked with declaring his major in college, Greg found himself torn between education, psychology and business. “My dad always enjoyed his job,” recalled Greg. “In the back of my mind, I wanted to enjoy my career, just like my dad, while also serving others.”
As fate would have it, Greg has worked in two of the same positions at UNM his father once held. One of which was working with fraternities and sororities. Most recently, he was hired as the Assistant Dean of Students. “Our titles are the same. In fact, my office is currently the same space where my Dad once worked,” says Greg. “I guess you could call me a chip off the old block.”
Greg’s role as the Assistant Dean of Students involves working with student conduct, new student orientation, budgeting and the Center for Financial Capability. Ironically, he is serving as an advisor to the students of the parents that Gary once advised.
Kathy Jo, along with Greg and his older brother, Eric, a sales and service representative for Metro Path in Denver, Colorado, created The Gary Golden Memorial Scholarship, through the San Juan College Foundation as a tribute to Gary’s love for education.
“Every dollar plays a part in enriching lives and transforming families for generations,” Dean adds. “The Gary Golden Memorial Scholarship is just one example of creating opportunities for our students.”
The Foundation exists solely to support San Juan College students, staff and programs. As a 501(c)3, tax exempt corporation, its mission is to provide resources to advance and support the college – from assisting students with scholarship funding and state-of-the-art technical equipment, to enhancing programs and supporting educational and cultural opportunities.
For more information on the Gary Golden Memorial Scholarship or to donate to the San Juan College Foundation, go to sjcfoundation.org or call 505-566-3200.