Friday, December 17, 2021

Grossmont College science, math and career tech complex reaches construction milestone

Attendees sign a construction beam.
 Against a backdrop of an azure morning sky, a steel beam was hoisted atop Grossmont College’s new science, math and career technology complex during a topping-out ceremony Friday, marking the apex of the $37.1 million construction project.  

“This topping out illustrates how Grossmont College continues to grow in our community,” said college President Denise Whisenhunt. “A symbol of growth and newness -- this is what this ceremony is about.” 

Pausing to the sound of construction, which she described as a “sound of a symphony,” Whisenhunt recounted the words of a young architect, Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Open registration for spring 2022 semester at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges


Spring semester is just a calendar page away at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and employees are at the ready to help students register for classes.

Whether face to face or via Zoom, staff is eager is provide extra guidance to enroll.

Open enrollment has started for the new semester, which begins Jan. 31 with a multitude of courses, including about half that are online, and many with zero textbook costs. Open registration has also started for intersession classes, offered Jan. 4-29.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Cuyamaca College celebrates ribbon-cutting of revamped OH complex

 Like a shot of Miracle-Gro to a houseplant, Cuyamaca College’s expanded Ornamental Horticulture complex is expected to invigorate the campus flagship program.

A ribbon-cutting Friday celebrated the $19.4 million renovation of the site, with added indoor and outdoor classrooms and facilities, doubled square footage of building spaces, and a state-of-art, high-tech greenhouse for the college’s Ornamental Horticulture program. Also added was a separate new building housing the nursery’s retail shop, along with office and meeting rooms.

“We are proud of our stellar graduates who are prepared to take on jobs in the green industry in our region and beyond,” college President Julianna Barnes said to about 80 attendees gathered for the mid-morning celebration. “These facilities will help our students work in classrooms and outdoor spaces that model the professional world.”

This project, started in August 2019, was funded by Proposition V, a $398 million construction bond measure passed by East County voters in 2012 to improve and add facilities at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges to meet student needs.

Friday, November 19, 2021

College District retains trustee boundaries

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s trustee area boundaries will remain unchanged, after a thorough review of 2020 Census population and demographic data.

The Governing Board voted to retain the district’s five trustee area boundaries at a meeting last week, following public hearings Aug. 17, Oct. 12, and Nov. 9.

The district contracted with Redistricting Partners, a Sacramento-based firm, to analyze to what extent population and demographics had changed between the 2010 Census and 2020 Census. Redistricting Partners found minimal changes, noting that the district’s boundaries were well-drawn and aligned with communities of interest including school districts and cities. Overall, the district’s population increased from 465,050 in 2010 to 498,019 in 2020, or by about 7 percent, with population gains spread across the five trustee areas. The district also saw less than significant demographic changes.

The district stretches from the cities of Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, and communities of Lakeside, Rancho San Diego and Spring Valley, east to the Imperial County line.

For additional information on the district’s Redistricting process, visit Trustee Areas and Redistricting.




Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Grossmont College, District win marketing, PR awards


Grossmont College and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District have won seven awards from a national marketing and public relations organization.

The National Council for Marketing & Public Relations’ District 6 announced the 2021 Medallion awards, including two first-place wins for photography and writing, last week. The organization represents more than 1,700 marketing and public relations professionals at nearly 650 community and technical colleges across the United States and Canada. District 6 includes community colleges across Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Territory of Guam.

The annual awards recognize outstanding achievement in design and communication by community colleges.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Grossmont College dance concert at PVAC

 The Grossmont College Dance Department will stage its annual student-choreographed dance concert in the new Performing and Visual Arts Center (PVAC) on November 18, 19, and 20.

Titled “Breaking Boundaries,” the yearly fall-semester concert will highlight a variety of genres – including hip hop, ballet, jazz, and tap – choreographed by Grossmont College dance majors.

The PVAC is a $44 million facility funded by East County voters through Proposition V, a $398-million bond measure approved in 2012 that includes a 390-seat performance hall for dance, theatre, and live music programs. It also houses the campus’ Hyde Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Grossmont College a Champion of Higher Education

Grossmont College has been named a 2021 Champion of Higher Education for its exemplary work in implementing the Associate Degree for Transfer program that provides a streamlined pathway between California’s community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.   

Grossmont College will be honored at a November 16 Champions of Higher Education Celebration sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, which noted the El Cajon campus is among the state’s top performers in associate degrees for transfer awarded per 50 full-time students.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Grossmont College makes Top 100 list for Hispanic graduates

Grossmont College was named No. 73 – out of more than 900 community colleges in the country – for the number of associate degrees awarded to Latinx students during the 2019-2020 academic year in Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine’s 2021 Top 100 issue.

Grossmont College was also recognized as No. 64 in the country for Latinx student enrollment during the same period.

“Grossmont College is a proud Hispanic-Serving Institution dedicated to getting it right, serving our students, and making an impact,” said Grossmont College President Denise Whisenhunt. “That these rankings come after we held an inspirational series of music and dance performances, workshops, and panel discussions both in-person and online to celebrate and honor another Latinx Heritage Month makes this recognition even sweeter.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

College District appoints vice chancellor

 Sahar Abushaban, a veteran administrator with the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, has received permanent appointment as Vice Chancellor-Business Services following a two-year interim term.

Her selection to the post, announced by Chancellor Lynn Neault, is effective Nov. 1.

Abushaban brings to the role substantial experience in public education budgeting and administration, including 15 years with the college district. She first began at the district in 2006 as a financial analyst, and went on to serve as Interim Director of District Business Services. She was appointed Associate Vice Chancellor-Business Services in 2011. She then served as Vice President of Administrative Services at Cuyamaca College for five years before returning to District Services.

A community college alumna, Abushaban then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from San Diego State University and a master’s in accountancy from National University.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Colleges join for Undocumented Student Action Week


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, acclaimed filmmaker and immigration advocate Jose Antonio Vargas will be a featured speaker as Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges mark Undocumented Student Action Week.

The week of online events are part of a campaign by community colleges across California to advocate and provide resources for the undocumented student population. Highlighting the week is Vargas’ presentation, “Defining American,” set for 3-4 p.m. Thursday, Oct 2. To receive a Zoom link to attend, submit an RSVP for the free, public event at

Vargas’ presentation is an online event sponsored jointly by San Diego County community colleges and the San Diego Community College District.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Career Expo's virtual platform next best thing to being there

 Grossmont College’s 43rd annual Career Expo will be virtual again this year to avoid the crush of attendees the popular event typically draws, but organizers are making the online environment as interactive as they can.

Grossmont College, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and
the East County Chamber of Commerce will host the free, public event 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27. Students, alumni, job- and career- seekers can register at Employers can register for free at A Remo login will be emailed upon registration.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Grossmont Symphony Orchestra to debut in its new home

The vagabond years of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale draw to a close with its first performance in its new home Thursday night at the new Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center (PVAC).

The 70-member orchestra and 40-member choral ensemble composed of students, teachers and musicians from the community have played since the ‘80s off campus, first at the former East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon until 2009, then the First Presbyterian Church of El Cajon, Santa Sophia Catholic Church in Spring Valley and St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove.

The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m., includes separate performances of the symphony’s brass and percussion, woodwind and string ensembles; the Master Chorale; and a multimedia performance of the chamber orchestra. In pre-pandemic times, the ensembles performed as one large orchestra, but because of Grossmont College’s COVID-19 protocols limiting the numbers of people in one room, Thursday’s performance will be broken up with each ensemble giving its own mini-concert.

“This 390-seat venue has been a part of the original blueprint for Grossmont College from the earliest years,” said music director Randall Tweed, who has been at GSO’s helm for 35 years. “It has been a long, arduous road. This new facility is a huge step up and being able to return for in-person rehearsals, even with social distancing and masking, has been great.”

Colleges ready for in-person arts performances

GSO rehearsal

After more than a year and a half of performances and presentations over Zoom and YouTube, the arts are returning in person to Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

Kicking off Grossmont College’s fall concert series is the Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m. performance of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale, which finally has a venue of its own at the newly opened Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center (PVAC). This, after decades of playing in places such as the former East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) in El Cajon, and several churches throughout East County.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Grossmont College Stagehouse Theatre Opens Season with 'Into the Woods'

Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre, which has not permitted in-person performances for more than 18 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopens to live audiences when it launches its 2021-22 season September 30 with a staging of Into the Woods.

“The faculty and staff of the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department are excited to welcome back students and members of the community as we engage in our first production at the Stagehouse Theatre since March of 2020,” said Theatre Arts Department co-chair Katie Banville. “The safety of our students, faculty, classified professionals, and the public is paramount, and we have  instituted a number of COVID-19 protocols to help ensure everyone’s safety. Most of all, we are thrilled to give our students and patrons the opportunity to reconnect in a shared space as we return to the magical experience that is live, in-person performance.”     

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Fall 2021 short-term classes starting soon at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Culinary Arts courses open
In a hurry to pick up some quick college credits? Or ready to dip your toe in the water and return to Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges for in-person classes?

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have increased their offerings of short-term, accelerated classes for the fall based on demand, with more students returning to the campuses for both in-person and virtual classes. For a list of Grossmont College’s short-term classes, go to For Cuyamaca College’s classes, go to

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Cuyamaca College VP chosen for national fellowship for community college leaders

Jessica Robinson, vice president of Student Services at Cuyamaca College, is one of 40 educators across the nation to be selected by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program for a 10-month fellowship designed to prepare future community college presidents.

Robinson is one of two from San Diego County chosen for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. This round of the highly selective leadership program will begin in November, partnering participants with current and former community college presidents serving as mentors. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative at Stanford University, the fellows will learn strategies to lead internal change, improve student outcomes in and after college, and create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, employers, and other partners. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Campus marks 20th anniversary of national tragedy


On a cloudless morning with the San Miguel Fire & Rescue’s massive 70-foot flag serving as a backdrop, the Cuyamaca College campus community and East County firefighters gathered Friday for an early commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“This day is about being resilient,” said Maryam Rammahi, Associated Student Government president, one of five speakers and two musicians featured at the event. The remembrance honored the sacrifices made and the lives lost in the tragedy 20 years ago. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

College district selects new Public Information Director

A former community engagement manager with the County of San Diego is the new Director of Public Information, Government Relations and Community Relations at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Michele Clock’s appointment was approved Tuesday by the District’s Governing Board.

Clock comes to the District from the County of San Diego, where she most recently served as program manager in San Diego County Fire’s Community Risk Reduction Division. There, she and her team of four employees developed programs aimed at preventing wildfire and strengthening community readiness. A program she launched during the pandemic last year won a 2021 National Association of Counties Achievement Award. Clock previously served as communications officer for the County’s Public Safety Group. In that role, she managed communications for seven County public safety departments.  

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Celebrating 60 years: Grossmont College's transformative influence

Mike Hartman has come full circle.

One of the first 1,538 students when Grossmont College opened its doors in 1961 and among the 18 students in Grossmont College’s inaugural graduating Class of 1962, Hartman would go on to earn a Ph.D. in zoology at Oregon State University and complete his postdoctoral research at Yale University. His lengthy academic career included playing a critical role in developing a marine biology program at Savannah State University, a historically Black university in Georgia that is the oldest historically Black public university in the state.

He would end his career teaching after teaching for more than a decade at Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina.

 “It all began,” Hartman said, “at Grossmont College, which really underscores the impact a community college can have on a person’s life.”

 As Grossmont College celebrates its 60th anniversary, Hartman embodies the impact Grossmont has had not only in the region, but nationwide, by transforming lives and through learning and serving as a catalyst for equity. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Grossmont College Computer Science students Cyber Cup champs

Scott Graham and Gerald Wolf embody the excellence of the Computer Science and Information Systems program at Grossmont College. After all, what else can you say about a pair of computer programming students who, at the last minute, decided to enter the 2021 SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge and ended up taking top honors and winning $5,500 in scholarships for the college?

“Honestly, neither of us thought we’d do this well,” Graham said of the two-person Grossmont College team, dubbed Reverse Shells By the C-Shore. “I mean, there were only two of us. The average team had six to eight people. But it turned out to be an absolute success on so many levels.”

The 2021 SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge was held from February 15 through May 31. Sponsored in part by the Department of Defense, the 12th annual SoCal Cyber Cup is aimed at providing extensive training and mentorship to participating students interested in a future in the growing field of cybersecurity.

Fall 2021: Help for all students; more in-person classes for vaccinated students

Some Zoom Rooms will be added.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are preparing for the fall 2021 semester with the start of a return to the campuses that includes more in-person classes and a continuing focus on helping students face the impacts of COVID-19.

To safely return to in-person, on-campus classes and services, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has concluded that all students attending face-to-face classes or seeking access to in-person services on the campuses are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the fall semester on Aug. 16, 2021.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

CDC coordinator's career more than child's play

Maura Mehrian remembers the date clearly. “August 1, 1995,” Mehrian recalled. “I was a single mom raising two kids and going from low-paying job to unemployment to low-paying job. I opened up my mailbox, saw the government assistance check and said, ‘That’s it. There has got to be a better way.’”

Indeed, there was; Grossmont College was just down the street. Mehrian set up an appointment with a counselor and transformed her life through an educational journey that began with earning an associate degree in child development from Grossmont College and included securing a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in the subject from San Diego State University.

Today, Mehrian serves as the Grossmont College Child Development Center coordinator and embodies the impact Grossmont College has in the region as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this fall.

“Grossmont College saved me,” Mehrian said. “I am Grossmont.”

Monday, July 12, 2021

Topping out ceremony for Cuyamaca College's Student Services Building

A ceremonial topping out is set for Tuesday, July 13, at 9:00 a.m. for a three-story Student Services Building under construction at Cuyamaca College, a milestone representing nearly a decade’s effort to centralize student support at the campus.

The topping out marks that construction has reached its highest point. The public event will include an opportunity for members of the college community to sign a construction beam before it is lifted by a crane, along with an American flag and an evergreen tree, atop the frame of the 36,000-square-foot center. The tree is a construction practice that symbolizes good luck for the future occupants, continued growth, and a safe jobsite.

At a groundbreaking ceremony in February, President Julianna Barnes described the center as a welcoming campus gateway and a long-awaited hub for students to engage and receive support services, such as counseling, financial aid, admissions, Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and CalWORKS.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Grossmont College holding virtual open house for Adult Reentry program

Returning to school years – even decades – after one’s last classroom experience can be a daunting experience.

Grossmont College’s Adult Reentry program, geared to help adult learners reacclimate and succeed as students, is conducting a virtual open house from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, in preparation for the fall 2021 semester starting Aug. 16. The free workshop is open to the public and will cover topics including:

·      Admissions and course registration assistance

·      In-demand program and short-term training

·      Financial aid and scholarship opportunities

·      Meeting college administrators and staff

·      Student services and resources

·      Exploring careers and majors

·      Student success stories

·      Taking a virtual campus tour

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Grossmont College grad turns 60 on same day as college's 60th commencement

 For Caesar Mazahreh, June 9, 2021 was a milestone: celebrating his 60th birthday and ceremonial tassel turn on the same day as Grossmont College’s 60th commencement.

 “I informed my daughter of the coincidence and she said, ‘Dad, you are as old as Grossmont College,’” said Mazahreh, who earned associate degrees in Business Administration, Economics and a certificate of achievement in University Studies with a 3.6 grade point average.

 Mazahreh first came to Grossmont College 41 years ago right after graduating from high school in Jordan. He lived with his brother, who was attending San Diego State University. After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Mazahreh’s brother returned to his home country.

 Alone and struggling academically his first time at Grossmont College, the young Mazahreh lost his financial aid and ended up dropping out, working odd jobs to get by.