Friday, May 28, 2021

Melissa Shields: Grossmont College commencement speaker

Melissa Shields is proof that all things are possible for those who believe in themselves, especially when they work hard and get the support they need to succeed.

At age 53, the Grossmont College student commencement speaker is a first-generation, African American college graduate. But she didn’t always have the confidence in her academic abilities as she does today. As a young adult, Shields believed that she was unintelligent. After her parents’ divorce, she dropped out of high school at 18. Then, life happened, and she became a wife and  mom. As her children grew up, she realized that she had a limited ability to assist them with their homework. She was also embarrassed and ashamed to tell her children that she had not graduated high school.

Shanae James-May: Cuyamaca College commencement speaker

Shanae James-May is a Communications and Behavioral Science major at Cuyamaca College, where she has been selected as the commencement speaker for the June 10 virtual ceremony. She is transferring to San Diego State University to purse a degree in Urban Planning and Development.

Like many college students, in her five years at Cuyamaca College Shanae juggled a full-time job, a family with small children, school, and community volunteer work. She took a break from school, but persisted after finding a better way to organize her responsibilities, and with the support of her husband and family. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Grossmont College's Hyde Art Gallery presents student art showcase

The relocated Hyde Art Gallery, now housed in Grossmont College’s new Performing and Visual Arts Center, is presenting its Spring 2021 Remote Student Art Showcase through June 17. 

This semester the gallery received more than 200 submissions from students currently enrolled in the various programs within the Visual Arts & Humanities Department. The artwork is available for viewing at

In addition to the virtual exhibit, the gallery is excited to present highlights from each class in the PVAC window display. The PVAC recently celebrated its completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center is expected to officially open in spring 2022, when in-person classes will be back in full and the facility is will operate as a lab facility for performance and visual arts programs and as a performance and art exhibit venue.

These are the first works to be displayed in the new gallery space and it represents the beginning of in-person exhibitions at Grossmont College. 

Although the campus is still closed, these works can be viewed along the pathway in front of the
Performing and Visual Arts Center building at the edge of campus in Parking Lot1. Just scan the QR code posted on the gallery window for more information about each piece displayed. 

As always, please use caution, remain appropriately socially distanced, and wear a mask when necessary.

Friday, May 21, 2021

College district support staff lauded for excellence

Nashona Andrade, Sam Rigby, Chancellor Neault, Natalija Worrell 

 A mentor for former foster youth, a key worker at a child development center and a professional development expert were lauded at a college district Governing Board meeting Tuesday night for epitomizing excellence.

Nashona Andrade, a District Services Professional Development specialist; Sam Rigby, Grossmont College  NextUp specialist; and Natalija Worrell, Cuyamaca College Child Development technician, each received the 2020-2021 Chancellor and Classified Senate Award recognizing the excellence of classified, or non-instructional, staff at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

“This annual award recognizes the exemplary work of the best of our classified professionals whose skills and collaboration help us to better serve students and the community,” Chancellor Lynn Neault said. “This year’s award focused on the districtwide commitment to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion within our institution. The three award recipients strongly reflect this priority in the work that they do.”

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center completion celebrated


Grossmont College celebrated the completion of the Performing and Visual Arts Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the new landmark structure on the El Cajon campus.

With its dramatic steel and glass exterior and soaring

roofline, the $44 million center at the front of the campus is aesthetically remarkable. What it means for the community as a new performance venue and for students in the college’s performing and visual arts programs is beyond measure. Its professional-grade features and size will encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration, promising to enrich Grossmont College’s arts offerings and to improve training for students on stage and behind the scenes.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Denise Whisenhunt selected as new Grossmont College president

Denise Whisenhunt
An educator with more than two decades of experience in higher education has been selected as the next president of Grossmont College.

Denise Whisenhunt, who now works as Vice President of Student Services at San Diego City College, was selected for the position by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Lynn Neault. She will start her new position July 1, pending contract approval by the Governing Board.

“With the many challenges facing our district as we emerge from the pandemic and build back enrollment, Ms. Whisenhunt will bring a fresh perspective toward building a strong future,” Neault said. “She has an engaging style of leadership and will work collaboratively with all groups to promote the best interests of the college.”

Whisenhunt has been in her current position since 2013. As Vice President for Student Services, she provides leadership for a wide range of programs, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, programs for disabled students, and veteran services. She also served for 14 months beginning in May 2106 as Interim President of San Diego City College until a permanent president was selected.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Ground broken for second phase of Grossmont College Science, Math and Career Complex

With the turning of shovels at a groundbreaking ceremony this morning, construction has officially begun at Grossmont College on the second phase of a science, math and career technology complex, which will also house a new Veterans Resource Center.

The much-anticipated $36.2 million project will greatly expand classroom, lab and office spaces for programs including Physical Geography and Oceanography, Human Geography and Social Sciences, Math and Geology.

Governing Board President Brad Monroe thanked East County taxpayers for supporting Proposition V, the 2012 bond measure that is financing the new building and other construction and renovation projects at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

“This building will demonstrate to the community that their investment in our college district through the passage of Proposition V was well spent,” Monroe said. “This building will serve tens of thousands of students in the years to come.”

Interim Grossmont College President Marsha Gable said she is excited about the new space for veterans, which will be a one-stop center providing counseling, tutoring and a social space for the college’s student veteran population.

“With a prime location on Griffin Drive, the new Veterans Resource Center will be an easily accessible space for Grossmont College to help hundreds of former and active military, reservists and their dependents reach their educational goals,” Gable said. The event was livestreamed on the college’s YouTube channel.

Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, said the new center is a milestone project updating a cluster of aging buildings badly in need of renovation and reconstruction to accommodate new technology and other pressing student needs. It is targeted for completion by spring 2023.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges mark AAPI Heritage Month

May marks national Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are hosting a series of virtual events starting with a May 4 AAPI Read-in and continuing through May 25 with workshops and presentations.

All events are free and open to the public, with links to Cuyamaca’s workshops posted on its Culture & Community Circle Workshops page and Grossmont College’s on its Asian Pacific Islander page.

“This year’s slate of events, along with a host of earlier workshops focusing on AAPI issues, are especially timely after the Senate’s passage this month of a landmark anti-Asian hate crimes bill,” said Daniela Sow, coordinator of Grossmont College’s event.

The Atlanta shootings in March of six Asian women and the rise of anti-Asian violence over the past year provided the momentum for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, sponsored by New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng and Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

East County college district wins statewide marketing awards

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s marketing efforts have garnered statewide recognition.

Anne Krueger, district Communications and Public Information Director, has been presented with the All Pro Award by the Community College Public Relations Organization, an organization that promotes marketing excellence among California’s 116 community colleges.

The All Pro award is a lifetime achievement award honoring the best in the business. Krueger, an 11-year district administrator, has been an active member of CCPRO, including two years as president and two years as past president.