Thursday, March 23, 2017

Joel Anderson: From Grossmont College to the California Senate

State Sen. Joel Anderson
State Senator Joel Anderson has come a long way since the days when he was a student at Grossmont College, living out of his car to save money so he could continue his schooling.

“Grossmont was a great value,” said Anderson, who received an associate degree from the college in 1983. “I got a tremendous education and the price was right.”

Anderson said he decided to go to Grossmont College because he was supporting himself and couldn’t afford to attend a four-year university. At the time, California community colleges cost just $22 a credit unit. (They’re still a bargain at $46 a credit unit.)

He said the factory where he worked laid him off when they planned to move to Washington state. To save money, Anderson lived out of his car for about six months. “There are worse places than sleeping on the beach,” he said.

A college friend, Barry Jantz, offered to let Anderson stay at his La Mesa apartment and the two became roommates. Anderson has remained lifelong friends with Jantz, a former La Mesa councilman who is CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District.

“Life was good,” Anderson said. “I was young, foolish and without a future.”

Anderson was rehired at his job when the factory’s move was delayed, and he worked 48 hours a week while attending Grossmont College. It took him four years to earn enough credits to graduate, but Anderson said the experience made him value his education even more.

“Because I paid my way, I understood the importance of strong instructors who would provide an education that translated into an income and would provide for my future,” he said.

When he transferred to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Anderson was pleased that all of his course credits from Grossmont College carried over. He even tested out of a required statistics class at Cal Poly because he had already learned the material in his Grossmont College class.

Anderson’s first elected position was in November 2002, when he won election to the Padre Dam Municipal Water District board. After four years on the water board, Anderson was elected to the California Assembly, where he served two two-year terms. He was elected a state senator in 2010, winning a second four-year term in 2014.

As a state senator, Anderson has shown his support for community colleges by co-sponsoring a 2014 bill that provides for a pilot program allowing 15 California community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in workforce programs. Anderson is also co-sponsoring a follow-up bill now before the state Legislature that will extend the program to allow 30 colleges to offer degrees, and end a sunset provision in the first bill that is now scheduled for 2023.

Anderson said he’s glad the legislation can help other students seeking a degree, just as he did when he was at Grossmont College.

“I have nothing but respect for the quality of education I received at Grossmont College,” Anderson said.


Cuyamaca College shines in National Collegiate Landscape Competition

L to R: Neiva Martinez, Casey Woodall, Tyler Shannon, Kaity Bevenor,
Brittany Etnyre, Alaxandra Trofimov
Just don’t call it beginner’s luck. 
Students from Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture program finished among the top of the class during the school’s inaugural foray at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition – a March 15-18 event involving some of the leading universities in the country. 

          “Our students were unreal,” said Donald Schultz, Program Coordinator of the Ornamental Horticulture program at Cuyamaca College. “We had several major industry sponsors and officials, along with an official from a college in Mississippi, congratulating us on what they said was truly an amazing accomplishment for such a small school taking part in its first national competition like this.” 


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Attorney retiring after 37 years of service to college district

Tim Garfield
Tim Garfield has seen it all in his 37 years as attorney for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Dealing with issues ranging from student discipline to an endangered species that caused a massive construction delay, Garfield has quietly handled the East County college district’s legal issues based on a deep knowledge of education law and human nature.

“It’s been very gratifying,” Garfield said. “I’ve been able to work with really good people trying to do the right thing and provide the best education possible to the students of the district.”

Garfield attended his last meeting of the East County college district’s board on March 21, where he was honored by Governing Board members and district Chancellor Cindy L. Miles.

“Tim’s legal advice has always been wise, thoughtful and well-researched,” Miles said. “He’s been more than just our attorney. He’s part of the family.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thousands of region's community college alum to celebrate AlumniFest

Gulliver with the San Diego Gulls hockey club poses with Gizmo.

With just over a week until the biggest community college alumni event around, don’t miss out on a $10 ticket for a Gulls hockey game and a chance to win lots of freebies and prizes, including a Caribbean trip for two.
For the second year in a row, community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties are celebrating on Saturday, March 25, with Community College AlumniFest, a 5 p.m. tailgate bash followed by a Gulls game against the Bakersfield Condors at 7 p.m. for just $10, about half the price of a regular ticket. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

5 from college district receive national awards for community college excellence

Four instructors from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and an administrator from the East County community college district are recipients of a national award recognizing community college teaching and leadership.
Grossmont College art history professor Marion de Koning, and Administration of Justice instructor Shaun Donelson; Cuyamaca College English instructor Lauren Halsted and math instructor Terrie Nichols; and the district’s director of Campus and Parking Services Nicole Conklin will be presented with the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards March 12 at a conference in San Francisco that drew community college representatives from across the nation.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Grossmont College grad takes case to the U.S. Supreme Court

It’s a long way from Grossmont College to the United States Supreme Court, but that’s where Simon Tam has found himself. 

Simon Tam at the U.S. Supreme Court
The former Grossmont College student and his Asian-American rock group, The Slants, are challenging a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision denying the band’s trademark of its name based on a 1946 law barring the federal registration of labels or brands it considers “scandalous, immoral, or disparaging.” The Slants performs up to 150 shows annually across North America, Europe and Asia, and describes its work as part art and part activism, often infusing performances with discussions about social justice and inequality. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

East County college faculty lauded for service to students, campuses

Two instructors at Cuyamaca College and a counselor at Grossmont College have been honored for their contributions to their campuses and commitment to student success.

Theresa “T” Ford, a counselor and adjunct instructor at Grossmont College, received the President’s Leadership Award.  At Cuyamaca College, math instructor Katherine Naimark and Child Development instructor and program coordinator Kristin Zink received the 2017 Awards for Teaching Excellence.

 "The deep and abiding commitment of our faculty to the success of our students shines through in all that they do,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “The winners of these coveted awards exemplify what makes our instructors and counselors at both colleges so very special. Our fundament mission is to serve students and they have made a difference in the lives of so many.”