Olympic Gold medalist and Community leader Maxwell Lander (Maxie) Parks has been named the 2017 Fresno City College Distinguished Alumnus. Parks will be addressing the Class of 2017 at the FCC commencement ceremony that will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11 in Selland Arena. The event will be broadcast live on CMAC's Education TV Channel (Comcast Xfinity channel 94 and AT&T U-verse channel 99). It will also be live streamed to CMAC's website at cmac.tv and YouTube channel at cmac.tv/fcc.
At the age of 10, Parks and his family moved to Fresno where he attended West Fresno Elementary and then Washington Union High School where he participated in football, wrestling, and track and field. As a wrestler, Maxie was a league champion and a two-time All-American.
After graduating from Washington Union in 1970, Parks attended Fresno City College where he excelled in track and field. He captured an individual state title in the 400 meters and won another state title as a member of the school’s 4x400 meter relay team. Parks obtained an Associate’s Degree in 1972 and received a full ride scholarship to UCLA. As a Bruin, he found continued success as UCLA captured consecutive NCAA titles in 1973 and 1974. Parks went on to graduate from UCLA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1975.
He continued to run after college as a member of four USA teams that toured Europe and trained for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Parks competed in the ’76 Olympics placing fifth in the 400 meters and later captured a Gold medal as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.
Parks has been inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame and the California Community Colleges Track and Field Hall of Fame. In fact, a photo of Parks participating in track and field hangs in the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Since leaving competitive track and field, he has been a successful small business owner in several areas, served as consultant, a coach and in real estate. In 2010, Parks was selected as one of the 100 Stars for 100 Years for the Fresno City College Centennial.
Earlier this year, the Maxie L. Parks Community Center was dedicated in Southwest Fresno.