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260 Stories And Counting.

#199 Ritchie Lafrate, Class of 1992-93
(Liberal Arts and Advertising and Marketing classes)

I attended College of the Desert during my senior year at Palm Desert High School and played football for the College during the fall of '91 & '92. We had a great season my sophomore year. I am currently finishing my elementary education degree through University of Phoenix, and still to this day know that some of the professors at the College provided me the best education of all. The athletics program gave me a foundation from which my future students will benefit. I am a football coach for both high school and youth programs and can attest that Coach Dean Dowty is the best coach I have ever known, played for and worked with! Student athletes who have the privilege to play for the Roadrunners are truly blessed to learn from the best in the business. I learned important life and education lessons from Coach Dowty. The experience at this school is second to none. I am proud to know that it lives in my home town of Palm Desert, California.

Charles Siebuhr

#198 Charles Siebuhr, Class of 2014
(Culinary Management)

My education was slim when in my teens, I quit school in 9th grade. In 1983 I took an exam to get my GED at College of the Desert (COD), and passed when I was 20. Twenty six years later my life got very difficult, unmanageable. I'm now 47 years old and enrolled at COD in Culinary Arts. Honestly I enrolled with no confidence; but, now it's 2014 and I graduated with an AA Degree the same time my son (COD student) graduated, same ceremony! THANK YOU TO Paul Maag, Chef Beno, Chef Miller, Bill Grotenrath, Courtney Dousset, DSPS, Dr. Jordan, Prof. Tabor, Prof. Stegeman, Dr. George, Les & Shirley Larson, Prof. Tapleshay, Prof. Emerson, Prof. Morrow, Dr. Culhan, Asc tutors, and THANK YOU to every student who told me with confidence I would make it! THANK YOU MOM N NORM. THANK YOU ALAN, MALLORY, KATE. THANK YOU HOLLIHANS. THANK YOU FSP. And THANK YOU COD!

Alan Siebuhr

#197 Alan Siebuhr, Class of 2014, Transfer to UC Berkeley

When I was going through high school, I was a slacker (at least for the first half of my high school career). Because of my lackadaisical attitude towards school along with financial reasons, my college options were very limited. It was only because of those things that I was hesitant to enroll at College of the Desert. However, after a long and thoughtful discussion with a past high school teacher, I made the decision to enroll at COD in the summer of 2012. I am proud to say that going to COD was quite possibly the greatest decision I have ever made in my academic career.

Even after I had enrolled, I remained uncertain because of all I had heard during high school, including how people couldn't get any classes and were not finishing it out. I was very hesitant but with my mother behind me helping me with registering for courses and my father also going to COD, it made my transition a lot easier and helped me to create a strong work ethic.

Because of this strong work ethic, not only was I able to graduate in two years time, but I was also accepted to U.C. Berkeley to attend in Fall 2014 to study economics. I was also fortunate enough to graduate alongside my father, which was one of the best experiences of my life.

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Alex  Chuo

#196 Alex Chuo, Transfer to Cal State San Bernadino
(Business and Economics)

I began attending College of the Desert (COD) after academic disqualification from U.C. Davis. The professors at COD gave me back my confidence while teaching me about my intended field of study. After transferring and graduating from Cal State San Bernardino, I was accepted to the University of Redlands for my MBA. My next goal is to obtain a doctoral degree in business and help students as others have helped me.

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.”

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