“From G.E.D. to Ph.D." - Thanks C.O.D.!
I dropped out of high school in 1986. By the end of the 80’s my opportunities were very limited. For me and for many others in my generation, it seemed that we were destined for failure. A life of meaningless labor and/or servitude was all that I could hope for. That changed in 1990 when I stepped onto the campus here at College of the Desert. I was immediately welcomed as if I had been away from home for a long time and the doors of education were opened for me.
College was a struggle for me, having not been in school for many years, but with the help of the faculty and staff who were very supportive, I was able to overcome many obstacles on my path to higher education. I earned my G.E.D. here at C.O.D., and then completed the IGETC transfer curriculum and was accepted to U.C. Berkeley. I went on to earn a K-12 teaching credential and taught high school for 3 years. Eventually I earned two master’s degrees (M.A. and M.S.) and a doctorate (Ph.D.) in mathematics.
My greatest achievement by far was being chosen as a full-time professor here at College of the Desert. Having my education, I could have worked anywhere in the country, but I just wanted to come home again. Now I have the best job, at the best school, teaching the best students in the world. I couldn’t be happier and I owe it all to a lot of hard work, determination and the people here at C.O.D. who made it all possible.
I moved to the desert in 1977 to join my family. My parents encouraged me to meet with their friend who taught at College of the Desert - and that's how Dr. Roy Wilson became my faculty advisor. He was also my public speaking professor and took great pride in "giving me a grade" when he would see me make presentations as I built my career in the Valley.
After COD, I transferred to CSUSB for my BA in Psychology and then to Chapman College for my MS in Human Resource Management & Organizational Behavior.
I came back to COD in 1999 as an employee and am currently the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. In 2005 I joined the Foundation's President Circle and continue to be a member. One of my projects is the "Step Up for COD" campaign designed to encourage alumni to tell us their story. Talk about coming full circle! I am proud to be both a COD Alumni and a college employee.
I came to COD so I could play football. I wanted a solid program, close to home, so I could get quality playing time on the field and have a real opportunity to be recruited.
My goal is to be signed with a Division 1 college! My thanks to all of the COD counselors, teachers, and coaching staff for giving me the ability to reach my goals.
I entered COD in the fall of 1984 as a 17-year-old kid that had dreams of playing college football. Graduating from Palm Springs H.S. (84’), I was looking to be a good college student-athlete so I didn't play football. I focused on my studies. Then Head Football Coach, John Marmon, talked to me about playing football at COD and I had every intention of playing in the fall of 1985.
When the Summer of 85’ came and I didn’t show up for practice, coach Marmon called me that night and told me to get to practice in the morning. I did and 21 games later we won 16 games in two years and the S.C.A.C. (Southern Cal. Athletic Conference) Bowl Championship. That turned out to be the first Bowl Championship the Roadrunners football program won. The team has won more since.
I was an all State split-end and was highly recruited by many schools. I settled on Washington State University where I transferred in January 1987. I received my B.S. in Social Science, the summer of 1989 and as a full scholarship player, playing for the Cougars of WSU, won the Eagle Aloha Bowl on Christmas Day 1988!
I wrote a book about my college experience called Catching Dreams @ LuLu.com by Will E. Pellum. My older brother, Tyrone Robinson, and younger brother, Roman Pellum, also played football at COD and went on to play major college football.
I now work for the City of Palm Springs in Parks and Recreation, as a Recreation Program Coordinator. I’ve also served my country in the Army, 1991-1994; and coach at Palm Springs H.S. now for more than two decades. Go Runners!!!
After 25 years away from education, a year and a half of being homeless, and getting clean and sober, I just knew that returning to school would better my life. I finished my studies at COD and gave the commencement speech at my graduation (2008). I was then off to LA to pursue a further education. I transferred to Cal State LA and am currently enrolled in the Masters Program in Psychology. I recently received a promotion to Program Manager at Skid Row Housing Trust.
Two instructors had a significant impact on my career and education choices; Dr. Pat Britton and Dr. Barbara Card made the study of the human condition exciting and rewarding to me. Lastly, as a Veteran, Donni Prince, was instrumental in getting me the funding and support I needed to succeed.
COD provided me with an environment in which to challenge myself and grow. There isn't a better Community College in California.
Skid Row Housing Trust