Sunny Foster’s time at Woodland Community College can be described as quality over quantity. From 1985 to 1995 the college,
on California Street until 1990, was graced with Sunny’s presence. As administrative assistant to Executive Dean Marian
Shivers, Sunny was an integral part the college administration during her tenure. And those that worked with her know
that nickname perfectly describes Sunny’s disposition.
Sunny was born in Berkeley and was raised in Pleasant Hill. She attended CSU Chico and studied secretarial administration
while there. Although she professes to not being great at shorthand, a requirement for secretaries at the time, she
applied to the college on the advice of a friend who worked in the same office. Once hired, Sunny felt supported by her
employer and her strengths greatly outweighed any perceived deficiency in her shorthand skills.
Sunny describes her time at the college with a warmth and fondness. It was a youthful environment. There of wasn’t a
lot of privacy and people loved to play jokes in the office, including her eventual husband Jim Lawson. She had never
experienced this kind of workplace before. And the work was dynamic. She always had an important task to take on and
her job required her to interact with nearly every department on campus.
Dr. Marian Shivers, former executive dean at Woodland Community College, described Sunny as a kind, professional and
productive employee. “I remember Sunny as highly charismatic. She was a shining light on campus. She was highly efficient
and a was a strong force behind the college’s transition to a full fledged campus.”
Past Founders’ Day award Winner Donna McGill-Cameron remembers Sunny vividly. “Her name is very appropriate. Sunny
was always cheerful.” Donna remembers that Sunny “was well organized, efficient, available and reliable. You never had
to worry about the job getting done. I remember a time that I needed to get some paperwork done for a class of mine.
In the past the process would take several days, but Sunny said let’s do it now and don’t put it off. That was Sunny
everyday. When she left the college, she set the bar very high for the next generation.”
Her husband Jim remembers Sunny’s desk being the center of the college universe. Her desk buzzed. It’s easy to understand
why Jim feels that way. Jim and Sunny met at the college in 1985. They married the year that Sunny retired from the
college in 1995.
After retiring Sunny dedicated her life to service. She became a mentor for at risk youth and befriended two young brothers
during an after school program. That mentorship has turned into a lifelong connection. She has developed a deep
relationship with the brothers and their entire family and feels a part of that family. Watching those two boys develop
into fine young men has been a great source of pride for Sunny.
Additionally, Sunny is a docent at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento going on 20 years. There she teaches young children
about art appreciation and shares inspiring ideas about art. She loves engaging young children through art especially
because she does not have grandchildren of their own.
Aside from her community endeavors, Sunny enjoys spending time with her two children and Jim’s two children, three of
whom live within driving distance. And every year Sunny and Jim gear up to make the journey to New York in May and take
in a Broadway show. In other words, life’s Sunny.