2012 Distinguished Alumnus
Arnie Robinson began his track career as a stand-out athlete at Morse High School, In 1967, he enrolled at San Diego Mesa College, where he set school records in the long jump, high jump, and triple jump for track and field. After graduation from Mesa, Arnie earned a scholarship to SDSU, where he won the 1970 NCAA long jump champion title.
The long-jump champion achieved even greater fame in his post-college years. A winner of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Trials long jump, Arnie Robinson was third at the 1972 Olympic Games, and took the gold medal in 1976. He was the 1971 Pan American Games champion and was second in 1975. A veteran of 10 international competitions, Robinson was also the first World Cup long jump champion in 1977. Overall, he won seven national long jump titles, six of them outdoors. From 1976 to 1978, he was the top-ranked long jumper in the world with a career best of 27' 4 3/4" in 1976. He retired after the 1979 season, returning to coach at Mesa College.
During his 25 years as head coach at Mesa, Coach Robinson’s teams won 15 conference championships, 10 regional championships appearances, and two state championship appearances with one state title. He also coached six state champion student-athletes, with one competing in the Olympic trials and another, Felix Sanchez, winning a gold medal in Athens for the 400-meter hurdles.
A pillar of the track and field community, Coach Robinson was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2000; the California Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame Track and Field in 2007; and the San Diego Breitbard Hall of Fame in 1984. Always active and involved, he has volunteered to operate the timing systems for major track and field meets, and served as the Foothill Conference representative and at other conference and state track and field meets.
Coach Robinson is most proud of the very active role he has played in the youth track and field community. He was the USATF Youth Chairman from 1994-2004 and the Association Vice President from 1997 to 2004. He was instrumental inspiring thousands of young athletes, establishing youth track in San Diego and striving to promote the sport by hosting youth track and field meets.
PR (Personal Record): 27-4 3/4 (8.35m)
Olympic Gold Medal, 1976 27-4 3/4 (8.35m)
Olympic Bronze Medal, 1972 26-4 1/4 (8.03m)
World Cup Gold Medal, 1977 26-10 1/2 (8.19m)
Pan-Am Gold Medal, 1971 26-3 3/4A (8.02m)
U.S. National Champion 1978: 27-4w
1977: 27-0 1/2
1976: 27-3 1/2
1972: 26-5 3/4
1971: 26-10 3/4
NCAA Champion, 1970 25-10 1/2
2011 Distinguished Alumnus
Raul L. Celaya
2011 Distinguished Alumnus
The recipient of San Diego Mesa College's first Distinguished Alumni Award is film producer Raul L. Celaya. A native Californian born to Mexican parents, Raul, 36, grew up in El Centro. After graduating high school, Raul enrolled at Mesa College, where he studied architecture, film and theatre. He joined the Mesa College Theatre Company in 1994 where he learned all facets of theatre production, and winning awards for excellence in direction. Raul received two degrees from Mesa, an AA in Liberal Arts in spring 1996, and an AA in Dramatic Art the following year. The career technical degree gave him the qualifications to pursue his craft. From Mesa, Raul went to New York to become a technical director and lighting designer for off-Broadway shows. He then transitioned to film, where his experience and dedication led him to Los Angeles to work in film production. His bi-coastal status developed a dynamic list of credits including the MTV Video Music Awards, Nutty Professor II, Duplex, Big Fat Liar, Catch Me If You Can, and Along Came Polly to name a few. Raul is also a member of the prestigious Directors Guild of America.
Other credits include the popular television series, Law and Order, numerous national commercials, music videos, multimedia productions, and feature films. In 2005 he created his first production company with fellow Mesa College alumnus Greg Weinbrecht and created shows for Spike TV. In 2008, he was hired to helm Dogwood Entertainment, a family film production company. His first feature film, "That Evening Sun" starring Hal Holbrook and Mia Wasikowska, premiered in March 2009 to critical acclaim. Raul most recently finished production on a webisodic series produced and directed by Vin Diesel for Fox Digital Studios.
Dividing his time between Los Angeles and San Diego, Raul still calls San Diego home. His family is joining him here today.