Dolly Aguirre

Dolly Aguirre was the inaugural administrative secretary to the Dean of Instruction at South Mountain Community College. She was one of the original staff members at SMCC.

Dolly Aguirre, 1981 or 1982
Photo provided by South Mountain Community College

Dolly Aguirre grew up in Central Phoenix, and she cherishes beautiful memories along with others of struggle. She reflects on cooking with her mother and the aroma of the wood stove, and remembers being quite a tomboy. From early on, she got the inkling that she was willing to challenge expectations and barriers.

Dolly Aguirre with Dr. Richard Morales, Sr.
Dolly thinks back on her early love of school, and her willingness to challenge expectations.

Aguirre always loved school, and she got through it with the support of various teachers and her parents, and found a deep calling for social justice advocacy. This would become a pattern in her life as she moved into higher education.

Dolly Aguirre and Dr. Richard Morales, Sr.
D
olly remembers a major turning point in her life, after having met Cesar Chavez as a young woman.

Aguirre began working at Phoenix College when she was still a student herself. Surrounded by strong women and supportive mentors, she found that she was a natural leader with a passion for the well being of others. Though she thought about other careers, she felt a calling to work in the community college system. Her first full-time position was at Rio Salado, which at the time was called “The College Without Walls.” This unknowingly helped her prepare for her next job, just a year later, at SMCC: the college without a campus.

Dolly Aguirre and Dr. Richard Morales, Sr.
Dolly discusses her first position at SMCC and the grounds at the time.

Aguirre has many memories of SMCC, but it is evident that the people she worked with and the friendships she made shaped her personally and professionally. She also believes fervently that the involvement from community members shaped the college and propelled it toward success.

Dolly Aguirre and Dr. Richard Morales, Sr.
Dolly describes the significance SMCC had on her life.

In her ten years at SMCC, Aguirre maintained a positive outlook for the future, despite the many changes she saw on campus. Shifts in administrative style and new faces among the faculty influenced the climate of South Mountain, but Aguirre remains optimistic that the foundation is strong. The legacy is evident, she thinks, in the actions and faces of those who believe in the true mission of the college. She believes the campus has helped South Phoenix become a vibrant community that is no longer cut off from the rest of the city. If the college holds true to its mission of educating the people of South Phoenix, Aguirre believes there is a bright future.

Student Researchers: Max Doll and Emanuel Parada, Fall 2018
Faculty Co-Author: Summer Cherland