Buddy Cheeks has been an inspirational champion for student success at South Mountain Community College since 1989.
Landres “Buddy” Cheeks was born on the Fort Dix military base in Trenton, New Jersey. Seventh of nine children, Buddy remembers moving around a lot throughout his childhood. In high school, Buddy played football and track, which helped him to win a scholarship to attend Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Buddy then attended Bethany College after serving four years in the military where he received a BA in Physical Education.
Buddy’s first visit to Arizona proved to be a significant experience. He made his way to Arizona to visit his college roommate, Denver Lattimore, who was coaching at Mesa Community College. Buddy believes if it wasn’t for Lattimore, he wouldn’t be where he is now. Following the visit, Lattimore encouraged Buddy to earn his Master’s Degree and become an educator.
Buddy started at South Mountain Community College in 1989. His first job was as a trainer in the fitness center, where he got to know a lot of the SMCC faculty and staff. As Buddy continued his work in the fitness center, he also established a reputation on campus as a strong professional. Buddy remembers the SMCC president and vice president working out in the fitness center, and he credits them both with advancing his career. One day, Buddy was called to the president’s office, where he was offered the opportunity to lead the groundbreaking ACE program.
Since then, Buddy has become a fixture on SMCC’s campus. He is now the Director of Student Life and Leadership. He believes in all SMCC students, and understands that student face constant pressures on and off campus. He gets to know the South Mountain Community College students who work with him, checks in to make sure they are doing well academically, and invests in their personal success. He believes that the success of students will be his legacy.
Student Researchers: Elijah Durias & Tyler Smith, Spring 2019
Faculty Co-Author: Summer Cherland