What’s in a name?

C building broadcast studio to be named for late San Diego City College professor Hope Shaw after five-year battle over building naming rights

Hope Shaw. City Times file photo.

Hope Shaw. City Times file photo.

Phoenix Webb

Performing Arts and Radio, Television and Film are two programs scheduled to move into the newly remodeled C building at San Diego City College on Jan. 5.

Laura Castañeda is the chairwoman of the Communications program at San Diego City College. She has consistently pushed to have the C building named for late professor Hope Shaw. Castañeda spoke before the Board of Trustees regarding the issue in May.

Not long ago, buildings, ballparks, stadiums and parks were named for people. Then, somewhere along the line, corporations’ names showed up on them. Jack Murphy Stadium became Qualcomm Stadium and when the baseball park was built it was named for pet products retailer Petco.

Hope Shaw was an educator in radio, television and film at City College for more than 30 years until her death in April 2005, according to the Hope Shaw Communications Scholarship Application.

When Shaw died, an online petition to name the C building after Shaw was started, according to Castañeda.

Castañeda said that when faculty met to discuss plans for the renovation of the C building several years ago, they voted unanimously to name the building after Shaw.

Castañeda had discussed the faculty’s desire to the name the C building after Shaw with Terry Burgess, then president of City College.

The discussion sparked a five-year-long discussion between Castañeda, the RTVF faculty, two City College presidents and San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll. The discussion was about naming rights criteria.

In one final plea for Hope Shaw’s name to be on the C building, Castañeda addressed the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees at their May 14 meeting. Castañeda spoke to the board members present and the chancellor, requesting once more that the C building be named for Shaw and referring to the district’s policy about naming rights, then offering evidence of Shaw’s service to City College as supporting criteria that sounded like it met the policy’s requirements.

“We never thought it would be an issue in the first place, because we read the policy that the district had in place for naming rights and we clearly thought that Hope Shaw fit the criteria for naming rights,” Castañeda said in a phone interview. “It came as a complete surprise when we found out otherwise.”

Lisa Grossman-Lake, Nora Perez and Russell Redmond also spoke before the board. They shared their individual experiences with Shaw during her 38 years at City College and each credited Shaw as their inspiration for getting into their combined fields of news reporting, film and education.

Hope Shaw’s surviving sister Rosalie Byard summed up Shaw’s legacy at City College in a letter sent to Castañeda.

“With both colleagues and students, Hope combined a brilliant gift for warmth and encouragement coupled with a steely demand for excellence, which she then helped all comers to achieve,” Byard said in the letter.

Byard was contacted for comment, but declined and gave permission via email to quote her previous letter to Castañeda.

Also present at that meeting was Jennifer Redmond (a friend of Shaw) and Dave Scott of TV station KUSI, who said, “Hope Shaw is synonymous with City College.” He went on to say that of his 30 years in the television industry, he felt he “owed” 25 of those years to Shaw.

Chancellor Carroll approved the broadcast studio to bear Hope Shaw’s name, as it was at the chancellor’s discretion, without need of a board vote.

“We may not necessarily agree with the decision but we respect the chancellor’s decision, and we just want to move forward with a beautiful new facility that we know Hope would have been very proud of,” Castañeda said during a telephone interview.