Pierce College will celebrate the accomplishments of four former students at the annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet at 6 p.m. April 14 at Pierce College Puyallup.
Honorees this year are:
Before taking a job in the computer lab at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom as a high school student, Deighton Maragh had only a passing interest in computers. He had no idea what he was going to do with his life, or even if he’d go to college. But, at Pierce, both as an employee and as a student, he was challenged and inspired, and he soon learned that computers were his passion. Deighton now works as the principle service engineer for management platforms and service delivery at Microsoft.
After serving in the Air Force in Vietnam, Virginia-native Jonathan Harris returned to McChord Air Force Base uncertain about his future. After a mentor on base told him a college degree was the best way to get promoted, he started taking classes at Pierce College (then Fort Steilacoom Community College) using money from the GI Bill. Jonathan took every class he could and quickly worked his way up the military ranks. With his renewed confidence, he also began serving the community and spent 12 years on the Steilacoom school board and 20 years as the assistant tournament director for the state high school basketball championships. He retired from the Air Force in 1995 as Chief Master Sergeant and served as Chief of Chiefs.
He now works as the deputy director of the Air Expo and Air Mobility Command RODEO events, which occur on alternating summers at McChord and draw thousands of spectators and competitors.
When disasters and emergencies strike Pierce County, Jody Woodcock is the second in command. As the deputy director of Pierce County Emergency Management, Jody is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the entire department, a job she finds deeply satisfying. Jody began her education as a transfer student at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. A member of the college’s honors program, she always had an interest in writing and politics. Journalism seemed a natural fit for the outspoken, energetic student. She transferred to Pacific Lutheran University and began working as a communications intern for the county in 1990. By 1993, she was hired on permanently and worked 11 years in the Pierce County Executive’s Office. Nine years ago, she transitioned into emergency management.
Eight months after graduating from high school, John Gibson was drafted and deployed to Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star. After his service, John worked as a TV repairman, but, as one of nine children in a poor family, John had watched his parents struggle and he wanted more financial security for himself and his wife. He began taking business courses at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. Today, he’s one of the most successful men in Tacoma. In addition to his real estate projects, including the award-winning Metropolitan Apartments downtown, John is the founder of Cool Cycles, a mobile ice cream company that raises money for children in Africa. He also donates his time as Santa Claus for the Tacoma Rescue Mission and other agencies, and is widely loved for his kind, generous spirit.
For more information or for tickets to the event, contact Ruth Ann Hatchett via phone at (253) 864-3261 or via email at email@example.com.