Combined, Richard and Stephanie Arrigotti have been full-time professors at Western Nevada College for 82 years and they have collectively represented the college for 92 years.
To underscore their devotion and dedication to WNC, their 50th wedding anniversary actually coincides with the college’s 50th anniversary. They provide wisdom and insight as WNC celebrates the 50-year anniversary of being founded.
Stephanie, who became a full-time professor of music in the mid-’90s, actually started the music program at WNC in 1977, was an adjunct instructor for 10 years and served as the college’s community education director and music coordinator. The community and theater goers across the country know her better as the producer and director for Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company, which has produced more than a hundred musicals for patrons who travel across the country to see these shows.
“We’ve seen every brick that has been built on campus. Our children have run the hallways and my daughter even did her homework under my desk to be close to me,” Stephanie recalled.
Richard has taught mathematics at WNC since 1973, two years after WNC opened. He has been a full-time faculty member at WNC since 1976 and taught part time starting with spring semester in 1973 after being interviewed by the college’s first president, Jack C. Davis.
“I was amazed that I was interviewed by the college president for a job, but at that time he was the only academic administrator at the college,” Richard said. “We had no building and were working out of what is now the children’s museum on Carson Street. My first class was held in a small office north across the street, which has since been torn down. I taught basic arithmetic using a flip pad of paper and a marker. After that semester, I taught basic math and elementary algebra at the Carson Middle School in the evenings until moving to the college’s first building (Bristlecone) in 1975, where I continued to teach part time until fall 1976, when I was hired as the college’s first full-time math instructor.
Early on, Richard said the entire semester’s course offerings fit on a single 8-by-11 piece of paper.
“There was only one small copy machine that printed only a single page at a time, so the instructors had to use a mimeograph machine to produce class handouts. We were a small faculty, just one in each subject matter: sociology, political science, business, English, math, biology, art, that I recall. The student body consisted primarily of adults well over 21. An 18-year-old student out of high school was an anomaly. That was our college’s infancy. Well, now the college is grown up and we have the privilege and honor to serve our community in so many vital ways.”
The college has certainly grown up and the Arrigottis have had a lot to do with it.