As students on campus prepare to finish the summer session strong, I can’t help but realize that the fall semester is just right around the corner. In less than a month a new academic year will begin here on campus, and with each semester a new generation of students walks onto this campus. I’m excited to see the new energy they bring.
Refinancing Proposition R Bonds
Acting President Tim Flood gave a presentation regarding refinancing a portion of Proposition R bonds, a move we unanimously approved because of the potential to save taxpayers up to $16 million. The Governing Board continues to keep fiscal responsibility at the top of our priorities.
Walls Are Coming Down and Going Up
There are many exciting Proposition R updates. As construction crews begin to bring down the walls of the old 1000 building, crew members on the corner lot are bringing up the walls for the new Wellness and Aquatics Complex. While we continue to move forward with our construction, we also continue our search to find the best local workforce for these future projects. This includes a partnership with the Minority Business Enterprise, the Women Business Enterprise and the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise to give those groups opportunities for good-paying jobs that help shape the future of Southwestern College.
A Fresh Face On Campus
At the meeting, we hired Trinda Best as our new Vice President for Human Resources. Join me in welcoming her to Southwestern College when you meet her. Trinda comes to us from Victor Valley Community College where she spent the past two years as the director of their human resources department. She’s also held similar positions at Barstow Community College and Mt. San Antonio College. I know her experience in the community college system will give her great insight in her new position with us.
Measuring Southwestern College’s Economic Contribution
The value of an education at Southwestern College can be measured in several ways—the increased earnings for our college graduates over a lifetime; that reinvestment of earnings into the local economy; and the college as an employer and buyer of goods and services.
In 2012, Southwestern hired a consultant to quantify that economic contribution. Among the findings were that a student’s income increased by $5.40 for every dollar they invested in their education at Southwestern College. It’s time for a new analysis, and we’ve hired the same firm to give us an update. We expect to have the new report in October.
Wellness and Aquatics Complex Stewards
We’re also partnering with MediFit Community Services. This company will handle all operations of the new Wellness and Aquatics Complex, including staffing and maintenance. One of their goals will be to establish community memberships so that everyone in the region can enjoy these state-of-the-art facilities.
We were honored to recognize two administrators who have made positive changes to Southwestern College. Dr. Vickie Kimbrough, director, Dental Hygiene Program, was presented the Emerging Leadership Award and Silvia Cornejo, dean, Higher Education Center, San Ysidro and Higher Education Center, Otay Mesa was presented the Distinguished Administrator Award.
As the director of one of our most popular programs, Dr. Kimbrough has transformed students’ lives by helping them obtain their California dental hygiene licenses, has lead the program through its reaccreditation, with zero recommendations, and continues to move the program forward in every direction.
Cornejo has been a champion for our centers in San Ysidro and Otay Mesa and their continued growth, including hiring more employees and offering more classes to our students, so it’s no surprise to me that she’s received Southwestern College’s highest administrative honor. In addition to serving those centers, she also has served on the boards of the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro chambers of commerce to find more ways to serve those communities.