Playwright and college instructor named West Hills College Alumnus of the Year

From West Hills College

West Hills College Coalinga alumnus Michael Lynch will receive not one but two honors this Saturday. He was selected as the WHCC 2014 Alumnus of the Year and the City of Coalinga has proclaimed the day of commencement, May 23, as Michael Lynch Day.

Lynch has been a community college theater instructor for over 40 years and currently teaches at Modesto Junior College. He attended WHC Coalinga from 1966-1967. His nomination was submitted by Dennis Gallegos, a performing arts instructor at West Hills College Lemoore.

“It is my professional opinion as a performing arts instructor, and as a member of the Hollywood and Broadway community for more than 35 years, that Mr. Lynch is the most distinguished artist to ever be involved in the theater program at Coalinga College and West Hills College Coalinga,” Gallegos wrote in his nomination.

Among his accomplishments, Lynch was awarded the Shubert Fellowship in Playwriting along with three Bay Area critics’ awards and six Hollywood Dramalogue awards. He was also voted Best New Playwright at the Edward Albee Theater Conference.

Lynch earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno, in 1971 and went to work as a theater instructor and manager for Merced College until 1975. From then until 1977, he was the theater manager for Skyline College.

He was the playwright in residence for One Act Theater Company of San Francisco from 1981-1991. He was a theater instructor and playwright in residence at WHCC from 1985-1992. Thus far during his career, Lynch has had 39 of his plays produced, nine of which were set in Coalinga. These plays were produced in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Lynch is endorsed by the WHCC Thespians, a group of theater alumni who participated in the theater program from 1964-2010. He will be honored during the commencement ceremony May 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the WHCC gymnasium
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