Cynthia Lee Katona began teaching as a full time English faculty member at Ohlone in September 1975 and eventually achieved the rank of Professor. She retired in May 2009, after 34 years of service. Upon retirement she was granted Emeritus status.
Cynthia wonderfully served and inspired a vast range of students, including veterans, deaf, re-entry and many life-long learners while maintaining the highest professional standards in her developmental, transfer and elective courses. She created and leaves as a legacy to the English Department many exciting elective courses such as Censorship and Obscenity in Literature, Psychology and Literature, The Gothic Novel and The Literature of Laughter.
Cynthia deserves special recognition for her work outside of the English Department, both in Journalism and Women’s Studies and has been professionally recognized for her photography and writing. She was the advisor for the student publication, The Legend, for many years, and she was part of an effort in the Journalism program to obtain a grant from the state to bring some of the first computers to Ohlone.
Cynthia served as an example of cultural understanding in leading students on tours and semester-abroad programs to England, Australia, Costa Rica and China. She was an avid travel photographer, capturing inspirational images from around the world in both 35mm transparency and digital format. She has traveled to Greece, Costa Rica, The Yucatan, England, Indonesia, India, Egypt and China, as well as throughout the United States. Her work includes cities, nature, people and events. She has won numerous awards and recognition for her photography work, including being a finalist in the 2014 Photographer’s Forum contest.
Cynthia published 10 books of haiku and photography. Her books include Book Savvy; Modern Ivory Netsuke; Imagine My Surprise; I Hate When That Happens; Maybe…and That’s Final; Was It Good For You?; Graffiti: The Audacious Alphabet; the Cocktail Chronicles and her travel book, Redeeming Miles.
Cynthia diligently worked for the interests of her colleagues and the college at large by serving four terms as Faculty Senate President and in other critical leadership tasks involving the college’s accreditation. She was active on faculty hiring committees for the English Department and played a role in selecting many of the fine English teachers at the college today.
Cynthia continued to reside in Fremont. She died in October 2016.