Pacific Oaks College & Children's School Honors two Pasadena Luminaries with Living Legends Award

Apr 18, 2012, 12:16 ET from Pacific Oaks College & Children's School


Barbara Martin and Joe Wyatt Jr. Recognized for their Decades of Service to one of Pasadena's most Cherished Institutions

PASADENA, Calif., April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pacific Oaks College & Children's School bestowed its first Living Legends Awards this month to two of its most distinguished and dedicated champions of its mission: Barbara Martin and Joe Wyatt Jr.

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The recipients were honored at a luncheon held at The Athenaeum before an audience of Pacific Oaks trustees, faculty, staff, and friends who have over the years contributed to an institution that began as a children's school in 1945 before becoming one of the nation's leading pioneers in the study of early childhood education and human development. Olin Barrett, a Pacific Oaks trustee, and Priscilla Gamb, the daughter of Evangeline Burgess, the college's founding president, served as the event's masters of ceremony.

In his opening remarks, Pacific Oaks President Ezat Parnia shared that the college and children's school established the Living Legends Award to celebrate those with an enduring affiliation with Pacific Oaks and whose personal efforts and generosity made a transformative impact on the institution and the greater community. "What makes Pasadena and Pacific Oaks so special are individuals such as those we honor today," he said. "Barbara Martin and Joseph Wyatt Jr. have dedicated their lives to helping institutions such as ours enrich communities such as Pasadena."

"I am proud and honored to be recognized as a Pacific Oaks Living Legend and look forward to seeing others have the same honor bestowed upon them for years to come," said Wyatt upon receiving the award. Added Martin, "I am humbled by this honor and accept this award with great pride."

The Pacific Oaks story for Martin began 37 years ago when past PO President Bob La Cross invited her to serve as the institution's first director of development. In addition, she was a children's school parent and on the Board of Trustees for more than two decades.  Outside of Pacific Oaks, Martin's community impact is felt around the city of Pasadena.  She has served in the role of board member and volunteer for The Walden School, Western Justice Foundation, English Speaking Union, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Pasadena Police Foundation, the Scottish Rite Program, and pro bono fundraising with Mother's Club.

Wyatt's service to Pacific Oaks crosses over six decades starting in 1969 when he joined the institution's Board of Trustees. It was during his near 30-year tenure as a trustee that Wyatt earned legendary status among the Pacific Oaks faithful as being among the most loyal, dependable, dedicated, and responsible stewards of the PO mission.  As Secretary of the Board, he always provided accurate—if mundane—reports of each meeting's events and was known for punctuating board meetings with occasional esoterica in Latin, a carryover from his school days.

A Harvard Law School educated attorney by trade, Wyatt's public activities include past membership on the California State Personnel Board, the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the anti-poverty agencies of Pasadena and Los Angeles, and as a California delegate to four national Democratic conventions and counsel to six California delegations.

In addition to honoring Pacific Oaks' legends, the event also marked the inauguration of the Evangeline Burgess Legacy Society, which was established to honor and celebrate those individuals who have chosen to include Pacific Oaks in their estate plans—thus, identifying with our institution in perpetuity. For more information about the society contact the Pacific Oaks advancement office at (626) 529-8092.

About Pacific Oaks College & Children's School:
Pacific Oaks College & Children's School has played a crucial role in the development of early childhood education in the United States for more than half a century. Founded in 1959 by a small group of Quaker families, Pacific Oaks College is dedicated to the fundamental Quaker principles of inclusion, social justice, and the valuing of every human being. The College's faculty has developed innovative curriculum and tools that are widely used in early childhood and teacher training programs—both in the U.S. and throughout the world. Pacific Oaks is well-known for its leadership in a learning-through-play curriculum, and for the ground-breaking anti-bias curriculum that has been implemented in schools throughout the country and is often required reading in early childhood teacher training courses. Founded in 1945, the Children's School is widely recognized today as one of the finest preschools in the nation. For more information, visit and

In 2010, Pacific Oaks became an affiliate of the nonprofit TCS Education System (TCS ES), which features a network of fellow nonprofit institutions, each backed by a model of education that prepares socially responsible professionals in applied fields such as education, psychology, and law. Other TCS ES affiliates include The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law. Learn more at

MEDIA CONTACT: Matthew Nehmer
(312) 329-6672


SOURCE Pacific Oaks College & Children's School