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Brian McGowan

#195 Brian McGowan, Class of 1996, Transfer to University of California Riverside
(Alumnus, former student body President)

College of the Desert (COD) holds a very special place in Brian McGowan’s heart. “The College literally changed my life and I will always be grateful for the opportunity it offered me,” he says. Brian was at a cross roads having just moved to the desert from the East Coast and was not sure what he was going to do with his life. Shortly after he enrolled at COD, it became clear that he was in the right place. Brian credits two professors who challenged him to dream big and believe in himself and classes in mass media with Dr. Roy Wilson and English with Susie Zachik Smith for inspiring what became a lifelong interest in government administration.

COD also offered Brian the opportunity to apply these new interests and skills. He was elected student body Vice President and then President working with the Board of Trustees and administration officials to help run the college. Brian eventually transferred to the University of California, Riverside where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in political science and then went on to earn a Master’s degree at the Claremont Graduate University. Most importantly, Brian says, COD is where he discovered a passion for public service which ultimately led to serving our country as a Presidential appointee in the U.S. Department of Commerce and in the White House.

As an economic developer, Brian believes there is a very direct correlation between the educational levels of residents and the rate of economic growth for communities. “College of the Desert fuels your local economy because it creates opportunities for wealth creation and new jobs,” Brian said. “It also strengthens the regional economy and helps businesses stay on the competitive cutting edge in a complex global economy.”

And for its students, the College paves career pathways and serves as a springboard for upward economic mobility. “That’s what it did for me and is another important reason to Step Up for COD.”