I joined the employee ranks of College of the Desert in 2004 as the Chief Business and Finance Officer and retired as President in June 2012. I had visited the desert often and heard of the quality academic programs. During my time at the college, I continued to admire the students, faculty and staff. The dedication and devotion of the faculty and staff to students is one of the primary functions that make the students so successful in their pursuit of life long education as well as employment. My own professional career and personal life were enriched with friendship and interaction with employees and students. The impact of the College on the Coachella Valley's economic development is vital to the quality of life and quality of the economy. It was a pleasure to serve the institution and I am proud of its accomplishments.
My experience at C.O.D. was extremely rewarding and exciting. I was able to meet and interact with wonderful staff, administrators and professors, and I developed meaningful relationships with my fellow classmates and colleagues.
Prior to earning my associate degree in political science, C.O.D. provided me with great learning opportunities. For example, I learned how the legislative process worked in theory as well as in practice, and I even had the chance to learn from former legislative leaders. C.O.D. also provided me and many of my colleagues with the opportunity to attend leadership training conferences, skill building seminars, and to learn in a comfortable, friendly environment.
As former president and founder of the C.O.D. Political Awareness Club and student trustee, C.O.D. equipped me with the tools needed to be an effective leader. As a result, our club was a huge success and we hosted several events for the students as well as the local community. Moreover, as a student trustee, I made sure students’ voices were heard and the college continued to support student success.
C.O.D. also prepared me with the skills to move forward and transfer to U.C. Davis, where I majored and received my bachelor’s degree in political science and became a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Societies.
I am honored that C.O.D. believed in me and equipped me with the skills that are necessary to become a successful student. Moving forward, I intend to continue to utilize everything I learned from C.O.D. and share my great experiences with the rest of the world. It is my desire to return to C.O.D. to work as a professor, so that I can give back to the community that gave me more than I could have ever imagined.
I am a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at The College of Florham of Fairleigh Dickinson University. After forty years in higher education, the last thing that I thought I would do in retirement was to return to a college. However, that is just what I did!
I am the Board President of The College of the Desert Foundation. Why? The answer is that given the state of our economy, the role of the Community College has gained even greater importance. People need jobs! However, many lack the necessary skills for them. In addition to preparing students to further their education, College of the Desert prepares students for present and future job opportunities. Indeed, they develop a portfolio of marketable skills. It is my belief that if we are to successfully weather our current economic crisis we need an educated work force that possesses the necessary skill sets for our present and future economy.
I am happy to be in a position to help support this mission. I believe it is the responsibility of all community members to support COD. It is an essential component of our community.
#33 Antoine (Tony) Clerc, Staff
(Adjunct Faculty Political Science & History
Faculty Advisor - COD Student Veterans Organization)
College of the Desert has been a big part of my academic and professional success. I first enrolled at COD immediately after leaving the United States Army. With no clear direction about my future, COD gave me the opportunity to enjoy different experiences and explore different interests. Three years later, I graduated and moved to Northern California to attend the University of California, Davis.
COD was instrumental in developing my abilities in order for me to attend such a great university. UC Davis was a stepping stone for a master’s degree from Boston University where I studied Political Science, specializing in International Relations. Since 2008 I have been teaching political science and history classes at College of the Desert and I can credit my basic educational foundation to my years at this great institution. I cannot imagine a better way to give back to this community than by teaching in the same classrooms I sat in as a COD student many years ago.
#32 Sarah Lara-Toney, Class of 2004, Staff
(I received my AA in Liberal Arts in 2004. Currently I work at the Foundation as the Title V Resource Development Coordinator)
My family moved to the Coachella Valley from overseas in 1999 and I came to COD because I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do after high school. I thought I wanted to be a Creative Writer, but ultimately majored in European and American History.
College of the Desert runs in my family! My sister was taking classes here when I graduated high school and suggested I fill out the application and take the assessment test. While I was obtaining my MA from San Diego State University my dad came to teach Psychology for the College as well.
It's amazing to see how much the campus has grown and changed over the years. It's been fantastic to rejoin the community where I took my first steps as a student.