Gloria Villasana Fuerniss was a Trustee for the college District from December 1979 to December 1996, a total of 17 years of providing exceptional leadership in the development and implementation of the college mission.
While she was a senior at Newark Memorial High School in 1966-67, she got a part-time job with the newly formed Fremont-Newark Junior College District operating out of temporary administrative offices in Newark before the college had even opened. That summer she was given a full-time job and moved to the Serra Campus on Washington Boulevard along with the rest of the administrative staff.
Gloria was not sure about going to college at the time. With coaxing from administrators and staff she found herself enrolling as one of the first students at the new college, majoring in business. She continued working for Ohlone as a student performing a variety of part-time duties including main receptionist, telephone operator, registrar, and athletic department receptionist. In addition to working and taking classes, she got involved with student government, the student paper, and even co-hosted a college radio program.
Gloria graduated from Ohlone in 1966 and went on to a 44-year distinguished career with Fremont Bank working her way up from being a secretary all the way to a Vice President position. In 1975 Gloria was name Ohlone’s 1975 Outstanding Alumnus. In 1976 she was honored as Distinguished Alumni of the California Community and Junior Colleges. Gloria generously contributed her time in service the communities of Fremont, Newark and Union City in many civic and community organizations and consistent promoted the values of Ohlone College.
During her tenure on the Board, Gloria served as Board Chair several times and was known for her organized and professional approach. She chaired the Board’s Budget Committee and exercised fiscal responsibility for assuring ongoing fiscal strength and maintenance of adequate reserves. She also served on the Newark Ohlone Center Committee and the 1994 Committee for the Performing Arts Endowment Fund Raiser. She also represented the Board with the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges for several years.
Gloria has always been a stalwart advocate for community college education. She continually exemplifies the importance of forging partnerships between businesses and community organizations and continues to share her expertise to improve the quality of life in her community. She has served on the Ohlone College Foundation Board of Directors from 1976 to this day. For many years she chaired the planning committee for the annual Ohlone Golf Tournament, which brought the business community together with local golfers to raise significant funds for the college.
In 2001, in conjunction with the Fremont Bank Foundation, Ohlone’s Building 27 was named the Gloria Villasana Fuerniss Alumni House in her honor. In 2005 she was named District 10 Woman of the Year by State Senator Liz Figueroa, for her dedication to the community through her volunteer service and her professional life. In 2007 she was named Citizen of the Year by the Ohlone College Foundation.