Posts Tagged ‘Sunny Cooke’

Cuyamaca groundskeeper inspires other students at graduation

CUYAMACA COLLEGE (Press Release) – Of the more than 2,100 students who received their degrees or certificates from East County’s two community colleges last week, few have worked so hard and so long for that sheepskin as Patty Tackett. A groundskeeper at Cuyamaca College, Tackett became a part-time ornamental horticulture student in 1997 to gain more knowledge about her work. Mostly taking one class a semester, it took her until 2001 to earn enough credits for a certificate of achievement in landscape design and technology and irrigation technology. That done, she decided to continue on to earn her associate in science degree.

It was slow going for someone who had been out of school for more than a quarter century. But Tackett persevered. When her name was called to collect her diploma along with 450 associate degree graduates and 129 certificate recipients at last Thursday’s commencement ceremony at Cuyamaca College, the honors graduate had her own cheering section among the faculty.

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Hurdling Obstacles: the theme of Grossmont’s 2011 graduation ceremonies

Grossmont College commencement, Spring 2011 (Rick Deharo, Grossmont College Photo Major)

Story and Following Photos by Russ Lindquist

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–Thousands cheered as newly graduated Grossmont Griffins received long-awaited acknowledgement of their achievements.  An estimated 1,500 students received degrees, certificates or in some cases both, at a ceremony June 1 in the Main Quad.

Student speaker Timothy Snowball shared his turbulent educational journey, with a crowd estimated at 4,000–a journey that now brings him to having been graduated from Grossmont with honors, with Associate’s Degrees in Political Science and University Studies.  Snowball indeed had a chance in hell, having weathered Depression and Anxiety Disorder and having dropped out of high school; thereafter, whenever he spoke to friends and co-workers about returning to school, they scoffed at him.

Undeterred, he spent three years at Grossmont, along the way having joined Phi Theta Kappa, an international academic honors society.  He said that his eventual aim is a degree in Law.  Between then and now, he said that he plans to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  For this leg of his life’s race, Snowball has won acceptance to UCSD, UCLA and UC Berkeley.  Now, he can take his pick.

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Despite looming budget cuts, GCCCD puts on happy face–and feet

EL CAJON – Almost 30,000 students started a new semester of classes Monday at East County’s two community colleges as officials with the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District awaitde news about state budget cuts that could be devastating for the two schools. More than 19,500 students were expected at Grossmont College in El Cajon, a 1.7 percent increase from the spring 2010 semester. Almost 10,000 students were to attendCuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego, a 9.2 percent increase from the same time a year ago.

Governing Board President Bill Garrett told faculty and staff that the board’s goal is to provide a top-flight education despite the state’s budget problems. “We’re committed to doing what we need to do to serve the residents of East County,” Garrett said. California Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a state budget that would cut $400 million from the state’s community colleges. The Grossmont-Cuyamaca district would face a $4.5 million budget cut – and that’s the best-case scenario. Brown wants to place a measure on the June ballot that would extend temporary state sales and income taxes. If that measure is rejected by voters, the college district’s budget cut could increase to $12 million.

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Flood outlines relationship between Sodexo and Grossmont College

Grossmont VP Tim Flood displays cover of Sodexo action plan

William Dudley

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — What is the relationship between Sodexo and Grossmont College?  As controversy swirled on campus about the quality of Sodexo’s service, the man in charge of food on campus, Tim Flood, Grossmont’s Vice President for Administrative Services, graciously took a few minutes to answer some questions

Flood chairs the Food Service Advisory Committee that meets periodically to discuss food-related issues. 

He said that Sodexo is the latest on a long line of private vendors. Flood recalled Aeromark as the food vendor when he started at Grossmont a decade ago. That was followed by Fresh ‘n Natural, Aztec Shops, and finally Sodexo.

The process of selecting a food vendor is an exhaustive one.  The GCCCD calls for private companies to submit bids (RFPs), which are then reviewed by the district. A committee of staff, faculty and students do taste tests, visit other colleges or sites the vendor serves, all to make a recommendation for whom to select. Then the district has to negotiate the contract itself. The process can take months.

Sales are significantly down from last year. Flood said that the disruption caused by construction undoubtedly has a role. He also said sales last year may have been abnormally  high because faculty and staff did not park on campus at all (during parking lot construction) and were shuttled in instead, leaving them even more “trapped” on campus and dependent on Sodexo for lunch. Grossmont is affected by this because Grossmont College makes money off of Sodexo food sales. According to the current contract, the first half million in “net sales” that Sodexo earns in a year is theirs to keep. Grossmont gets a 6 percent commission, or $30,000, on the next half million, and a 7 percent commission, or $35,000, for the following half million.

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Kerry Kilber named dean of learning resources and technology at Grossmont College

Dean Kerry Kilber

GROSSMONT COLLEGE (Press Release) –Kerry Kilber has been named dean of learning resources and technology here. Kilber comes to the district from the University of San Diego, where she served as the director of a Web-based master’s degree program in supply chain management in the college of business administration.

As dean, Kilber is responsible for managing, implementing and coordinating college-wide learning and technology resources programs, technical equipment, data bases and infrastructure in support of academic and student services programs.

She will plan, initiate and evaluate programs and systems while navigating the rapidly changing and increasingly complex environment for learning and information technology, all while confronting the realities of funding cuts to community college budgets due to California’s state budget crisis. This is happening despite increased demands for classes as students train, or retrain, for new careers and complete general education requirements to transfer to four-year universities and colleges.

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Services Oct. 9 for Spencer D. Clay

Spencer David Clay

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – A remembrance service for Spencer David Clay, who was the son of Associate Dean Carrie Clay as well as a senior project engineer on Grossmont College’s new student center, will be conducted at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, at the South Ponto of South Carlsbad State Beach.

The memorial service will be  followed by a celebration of his life at 12:30 p.m. at Charlie’s, 751 F. Street in Encinitas.  Attendees are requested to “wear colorful clothing,” according to Bernadette Black, administrative assistant to Grossmont President Dr. Sunny Cooke.

Clay died at his home in Pacific Beach on Thursday, Sept. 30, of cardiac arrest believed brought on by a blood clot.  Continue reading

Campus photo at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — Students, faculty and staff can become part of Grossmont College’s photographic history simply by being in the Main Quad at 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30.

At that time, the San Diego Union-Tribune has arranged to take a mass photograph in recognition of Grossmont College having been selected by its readers earlier this year as the best college or university in San Diego, topping not only other community colleges but local four-year institutions as well.

You don’t need to do anything special to be in the photo, just come.  Everyone has been invited by Grossmont President Sunita V. Cooke, who says the photo session is expected to take no longer than 10 minutes.

Preceding was a GC Summit staff report

Just who is Dr. Sunita V. Cooke?

By Xavier Green

Xavier Green

GROSSMONT COLLEGE– She was born in Lucknow, India, and her family moved to the United States when she was five years old. At that time, the Indian government had a policy that allowed people leaving the country to take only $8 per person. So her family of five landed in New York City with $40 to their name.

Verghese family members came with one suitcase each and over the years due to the opportunity afforded to them, all three children in the family were able to fully participate in education and become productive, American citizens. truly living the American dream!

Grossmont's Sunny Cooke

In recalling her life story, Dr. Sunita Cooke, president of Grossmont College, continued:

“My formative years were spent in rural Pennsylvania. I spent 7th through 12th grades in a community that had not been exposed to those from other countries or backgrounds. Growing up in that environment helped me appreciate the ‘aloneness’ that exists when you feel like you are ‘different’ or don’t belong. That drove me to excel in school and in other ways to overcome that feeling of being an outsider. It was a great motivator.”

As a result of that exposure, Dr. Cooke said she developed a greater appreciation and understanding of diversity, different perspectives and backgrounds.
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Commentary: Health science complex totally transforms learning environment

By Kamri Jackson

Kamri Jackson

GROSSMONT COLLEGE– The Ribbon has been cut. The futurist
building is complete; it is official. On Friday, Sept. 17, Grossmont faculty, students, and esteemed guests celebrated the opening of the brand new, “state of the art” Health and Sciences Complex.. Grossmont College President, Dr. Sunita Cooke described the building as “futuristic, functional, and stunning,” during the opening ceremony.

In addition, Cooke stated that the building functions as “a beautiful space to study, explore, and socialize.”

The $35 million futuristic building would not have become reality, if it were not for Proposition R, which was passed in 2002 by East County voters. It took two years from the date of the first groundbreaking,
up to the grand opening to complete. Citizen’s Bond Oversight
Committee chair, Ron Asbury, stated that the change order of construction was 1.5%, which is well below industry standards.” He credited “efficient planning” and “great people.”

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Health-science complex surprisingly high-tech

Ribbon-cutting photo

GROSSMONT COLLEGE (Press Release) – An impressive array of demonstrations of everything from high-tech mannequins filling in as faux patients to a mock crime scene replete with a murder “victim” slumped over a living room sofa capped the grand opening Friday, Sept. 17, of Grossmont College’s new health and sciences complex, almost two years to the day after a groundbreaking ceremony at what was then little more than a large dirt lot.

“I absolutely love this building,” Grossmont College President Sunny Cooke said. “The mixing of education, simulation, training, exploration, research, hands-on learning and technology-intensive experiences is unlike that found in any other building on this campus.”

The lifelike mannequins that are programmed to respond as patients to the prodding of nursing students is but one feature of the facility chockfull of learning labs, each lending its own twist to real-world  instruction. A casting room for the orthopedic technology program. A mock apartment for students in the occupational therapy assistant program.   A blood-spatter room for forensic technology students to analyze blood drops. A laser photography room for bullet trajectory analysis.  A rooftop deck for astronomy students and star-gazers.  Simulated ICU patient stations with ventilators to train respiratory therapy students. Sound booths and a therapy room simulating a clinical setting for students seeking careers as speech-language pathology assistants.

These are among the multiple learning labs inside the $35 million complex, the last completely new building at Grossmont College to be constructed with funds from the 2002 passage of Proposition R, the $207 million facilities bond measure, and state bonds.

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