Kathleen “Kathie” Hawkins has worked at South Mountain Community College since 1981, and for Maricopa Community Colleges since 1975. Kathleen is the Campus Curriculum Specialist Senior, which means that she coordinates the production of schedules, updates and edits the school’s catalog on a regular basis, and assists faculty in designing and scheduling new courses. Kathie has lived in South Phoenix since 1960 giving her a great wealth of knowledge and personal experience in the development of our city since that time.
Kathie first moved to Phoenix in 1960, when her father moved her family out to the Valley, from their original home in Up-State New York. She spent her teenage years growing up on the border of Tempe and South Phoenix, graduating from Tempe High School. She began her career for Maricopa Community College in 1975 at Gateway Community College, when it was called Maricopa Technical Community College, on 1st and Washington. In 1979, Kathie had to resign because she was pregnant, and the district only allowed six weeks maternity leave at that time. In the fall of 1981, Kathie returned to the district to work at South Mountain in its first year. Since moving to the valley, Kathie has played an active part in the community, supporting local restaurants and shopping at local stores, and she hopes to see new developments in South Phoenix. Kathie used her benefit to access to higher education, despite resistance from her family. Kathie’s father was initially dismissive of her desire for higher education, but after 16 years of hard work and perseverance, she graduated with her Associates in 1987. She was the first member of her family to do so, out of eleven siblings! And the entire time she was attending school, she was working full time for the Maricopa Community College District, while raising her family, which should attest to the level of grit this woman has.
Kathie’s family is just as active in the community as she is. She considers it a success that Her kids involved as well, with sports leagues, museums, and church events. Kathie also promotes South Phoenix, telling anyone who will listen the many benefits of living in our community and raising a family here, and she argues or dismisses any negative comments towards the school or the community, making special note of the amazing libraries we have in our city, and all the amazing outreach programs at SMCC.
Remembering the flower gardens and orchards of baselines past, Kathie recounted how the development of our community took place. She mentioned how shops and neighborhoods slowly came to replace all the old establishments of South Phoenix’s past, and the excitement she felt at seeing new developments in her neighborhood. She also reminisces on the humble beginnings of South Mountain Community College, before the campus was even established, and how everyone in the district wrote our school off, considering it a “temporary solution”, though history has proven otherwise, and Kathie always knew in her heart that it would.
In summary, Kathleen “Kathie” Hawkins, has an incredibly valuable insight into the history of our college and our community, as she has lived through and taken part in it for several decades now, and hopefully we can preserve her story of hard work and perseverance for decades to come.
Student Researcher: Tommy Lathrop, Fall 2018