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By Eric Pineda

Despite the passing of beloved Las Positas instructor Bill Paskewitz, the art department is working to pick up his responsibilities and to continue Paskewitz’s legacy.

As an art teacher and director of the art department, Paskewitz played a crucial role in arts administration, showing consistent effort in improving the program and touching the lives of students since 1988 – the first year he taught at Las Positas.

“There’s nothing more that you hope from an instructor than for them to be passionate about what they do and for them to pass that passion on to you,” said Paulina Reynoso, a former student of Paskewitz.

Reynoso said Paskewitz’s enthusiasm and passion for his career caused her to change her major from biology to art after taking a class with him.

Paskewitz’s charisma extended well beyond the art department as he impacted the campus and the community. He created events such as the “We Can” auction where faculty and student alumni could showcase their painted canned foods to raise money for the Alameda Country Food Bank. The auction raised nearly $1,800 for the community.

Last fall, Paskewitz passed away due to injuries sustained from a fall. Those in the art department tried to fill the void left by Paskewitz. As chair of the program, Paskewitz worked to maintain art classes, deadlines and degrees that influenced students and faculty. His position consisted of two subdivisions: art history and art practices, two areas that would normally take two people to manage. For Paskewitz, it was a rather small obstacle.

Pamela Howell, Las Positas art history teacher and previous disciple of Paskewitz, stated, “He was very dedicated in getting (students) what they needed in order to make this work.”

The art department hopes to carry on Paskewitz’s legacy with a hiring process that would hopefully fill his place. The process requires a formal submission, one that the art department plans to request for either or both an art history instructor and art practices instructor. Hiring is expected to be completed by next fall.

Many believe that because of Paskewitz’s contribution to the college as a teacher, director and life counselor, it will be difficult to find someone of his standard and energy.

“You can’t place a new flower on an old root. He was definitely one of a kind,” Reynoso said.

Only time will tell if whoever fills the position will be able to match Paskewitz’s attitude and outlook.

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