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258 Stories And Counting.

William Pellum

#13 William Pellum, Class of 86

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 @ 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!!!

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#12 John Tigner, Transfer to California State University Los Angeles
(Alcohol and Drug Studies)

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.

John Tigner

Program Manager

Skid Row Housing Trust

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Thomas Jones

#11 Thomas Jones, Staff

I began my educational experience with COD in 1994. One could say I was on the “20

2-year Program.” I took classes at the EVC, which we also called, “Indio High School.” I was taking math classes for fun, no real goal.

Like many older students, I focused on work for a while until 2004, when I medically retired from business. With TONS of free time on my hands, I came back to COD. I took a history class taught by Dr. Gudelunas. He was so dynamic and energizing. After my first class with him, I knew I wanted to be a history teacher.

COD became my vehicle for earning a Master’s degree so I could touch students the way Dr. Gudelunas and other teacher at COD touched me. Seven years later, I am graduating with my Master’s degree in History/Humanities from Cal-State Dominquez Hills. It all started with COD and the excellent teachers I had here.

It is my long term goal to one day work at COD as a History teacher. I hope that I will inspire those as I was inspired. COD is truly the "Door to your Dreams"! It was for me. Set short term and long term goals; work towards them; and never discouraged.

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#10 Robert Pellenbarg, Staff

Arriving in the Valley about five years ago, I entered a very different environment. I had worked as a research scientist on the East Coast, and left, ready for a change. Well, COD 'opened-a-door' for me, and I have never looked back. I now teach a variety of Science classes, and find great enjoyment and satisfaction interacting with the students at COD. This opportunity to guide a new generation has proven invaluable to me, and I most thoroughly enjoy it when a former student stops by to talk of their educational progress.

Lupe Ramos Watson

#9 Lupe Ramos Watson, Class of 1997
(Graduate Associates of Arts)

College of the Desert fostered an environment where I had the opportunity to explore my interest and passion in politics and community service. I am a first generation American born to migrant farm workers who followed her dream for a career in public service. COD's access to education facilitated my growth through flexible schedules and supportive faculty. I was able to work, raise a family, obtain my degree and build a career all within the Coachella Valley.