Palomar College News

Palomar College Ranks in ‘Top 100 Minority Degree Producers’


SAN MARCOS (September 3, 2015) – According to a report to be published in Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, Palomar College ranks as one of the country’s “Top 100 Minority Degree Producers.”

The upcoming “Hispanic American Heritage” edition of the national Diverse newsweekly publication presents the magazine’s annual “special report” which compares colleges and universities in the U.S. on their success rate in awarding academic degrees to members of minority populations. The report, scheduled to be out September 24, shows Palomar as in the top 100 “for graduating African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics with Associate degrees in several disciplines.”

Palomar’s rankings for graduating Hispanic students are as follows:

  • Ranked among the Top three for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in “All Disciplines Combined” for 2015
  • Ranked among the Top three for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in Social Sciences for 2015
  • Ranked among the Top 15 for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies for 2015
  • Ranked among the Top 15 for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in Business/Commerce, General for 2015
  • Ranked among the Top 25 for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in Psychology for 2015
  • Ranked among the Top 30 for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences for 2015
  • Ranked among the Top 45 for graduating Hispanic students with Associates degrees in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services for 2015

“We take Palomar’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution very seriously,” said Interim Palomar College Superintendent/President Adrian Gonzales. “We are proud that our commitment to supporting the unique needs of our diverse student population continues to produce tangible results in helping all students to achieve their goals.”


Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,
Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,


Palomar Ranks With Universities in Top Five “Best” San Diego Colleges

Palomar Takes Second Place in the ‘College or University’ Category

SAN MARCOS (August 28, 2015) – Palomar College was singled out as the only community college placing in the top five out of the region’s colleges and universities in the 2015  San Diego’s Best Union-Tribune Reader’s Poll.

The poll results, announced August 23, showed Palomar as placing second, sharing the “best” designation with four-year universities. The other four named were San Diego State (#1); University of California, San Diego (#3); University of San Diego (#4); and National University (#5).

“We’re glad to know that Union-Tribune readers are tuned in to the great things Palomar has to offer,” said Adrian Gonzales, Interim Superintendent-President. “In addition to our extensive programs, Palomar is known for being all about the people. Students are our highest priority  – we have top-notch professors and staff members that really care about doing their best to help each student succeed.”

Other finalists in the College or University category were: California State University, San Marcos; Grossmont College; MiraCosta Community College; Point Loma Nazarene University; and San Diego Christian College.

According to the Union-Tribune website, the newspaper’s readers were asked to share their “best” picks in more than 150 categories “from Best Brunch to Best Beach, from Best Movie Theatre to Best Museum, from Best Camera Store to Best Car wash, and nearly everything in between.” The nominations began in April with voting from late May through the end of June.

For more information about Palomar College’s offerings, visit



Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,

Palomar College Alumna Receives Top Honors at University of Texas

Victoria Grad Picture_4x5_400px Long

SAN MARCOS (August 12, 2015) – Palomar College science faculty members weren’t surprised to hear that their former student, Victoria (Aiello) Arnold went on to achieve great things at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. “Her academic record here at Palomar was brilliant,” said Dr. Carey Carpenter, her former anatomy professor. But the magnitude of her success made quite an impression on him and others.

Carpenter was beaming as he spread the news that when she graduated from UT last May, Arnold won one of the university’s most prestigious awards, the George H. Mitchell award for undergraduate academic excellence, worth $10,000. The campus-wide award, open to 50,000 students across disciplines, was narrowed to seven finalists, each nominated by a faculty member, and then given to one student.

With a major in Human Biology and an emphasis on problems in developing countries, Arnold received the award “particularly because of the strength of her undergraduate research: In Vivo Analysis of Hyaloid Vasculature Morphogenesis,” said Carpenter. Arnold, who is now applying to medical schools, explained that the subject for her research project was the vascular development of the eye and associated mutations.

A San Diego native who grew up in Ramona and graduated from Ramona High School, Arnold said her experience at Palomar College played a key role in her academic success and her decision to pursue medicine. “I was enrolled in Dr. Carey Carpenter’s anatomy class and not only realized that I wanted to become a physician, but also that I was capable of doing so,” Arnold said, crediting him with “[giving me] a confidence in myself I didn’t have before his class.”

“The following semester, the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) center at Palomar offered seminars and informationals that were applicable to my professional desires,” Arnold said. She followed her Palomar biology professor Jim Gilardi’s advice and attended an info-session about summer research  programs. “Immediately after the session, I applied to the programs mentioned and ended up being invited to participate as a research intern at Purdue University for a summer! Within the same week, I received my acceptance to the University of Texas at Austin.”

As an undergraduate, Arnold presented her research at conferences throughout the country and received several awards for her work. She also won an undergraduate fellowship to fund her research project, and had her work published in a well-respected journal.

Now in the process of applying to medical schools, Arnold works as an intern at the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, UT at Austin’s medical research facility. In her work there, she has designed a protocol for a human supplement trial set to begin this fall, and she also studies the teratogenicity of industrial chemicals. In her medical school application personal statement, Arnold wrote,  “To say that I enjoy research is an understatement. I love it. However, for me, a research career would lack one element: patient interaction. I am drawn to the human interaction aspect of medicine, where scientific practice is translated into patient care.”

Arnold was able to experience her dream of “merging of biology and patient care” while in Argentina on a medical mission trip in 2009. “My triage responsibilities afforded me my first patient interaction and showed me that I was drawn to the uniting of science and service.” She has continued this type of work through Operation Smile, a charity organization that focuses on providing cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries in underdeveloped countries. As vice president of UT’s chapter of Operation Smile, she has been very active in raising funds and awareness for these surgeries. In addition, she volunteers as a science tutor to at-risk teens.

While clearly proud of her accomplishments and excited about her future, Arnold is quick to point out that her road as not always been an easy one. “I come from a single-parent household where my mother worked nights in a casino and my father wasn’t present. Our goal was survival, not reaching for the stars, which meant I wasn’t well-prepared for higher education.” The “strong work ethic and understanding of responsibility” her mother instilled in her proved invaluable to her ability to succeed.  “I have learned so much, but most importantly, that persistence is 90% of success.” She also credits the people and her experience at Palomar College “for sparking the realization of my potential.”

Arnold  lives in Austin with her husband, who works as a paramedic, and their dog. She enjoys spending time with them, and doing the outdoor activities Austin offers like “hiking and paddle boarding, plus eating great food.” However she admits both she and her husband miss San Diego.



Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365
Laura Gropen, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150 x2152


Palomar College Student is Among 10 Students Nationwide Named as Phi Theta Kappa Hites Scholars


SAN MARCOS (August 6, 2015) –Palomar College student Maylin Caldwell was named along with nine other two-year college students nationwide as a recipient of the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa Hites Transfer Scholarship. The 10 students together are receiving a total of $75,000 to assist in the attainment of baccalaureate degrees.

The Hites Transfer Scholarship Program, made possible by support from the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, supports the outstanding academic achievement of Phi Theta Kappa members.

Scholarships of $7,500 each have been awarded to each of this year’s 10 Hites Scholars. Students enrolled in associate degree programs and preparing to transfer to a regionally-accredited baccalaureate degree-granting senior institution in the fall of 2015 were eligible to apply. Judges reviewed and scored applications for academic rigor, leadership and engagement. The 2015 Hites Transfer Scholars were selected from more than 2,100 applicants worldwide.

This is the second year Caldwell has received a Phi Theta Kappa award. Last year, she was recognized as an “outstanding scholar” and selected for the Phi Theta Kappa All California Academic Team along with Palomar College student Anh Tran. Caldwell and Tran were honored at an awards luncheon in Sacramento by the Community College League of California (CCLC).

Caldwell, who was a tutor in Palomar’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center this past year, has served as vice president of Palomar’s Alpha Omega Rho chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). Katy French, associate professor of library technology and one of the club’s advisors said of Caldwell, “Maylin possesses the energy, attitude and communication skills of a great leader…. she is devoted to improving herself and the lives of others.   I was thrilled to learn that she won the Hites Scholarship and can add that to her other academic successes.”


The 2015 Hites Transfer Scholarship recipients are:


Nathaniel Bush, Alpha Theta Delta Chapter, Central Arizona College, AZ

Maylin Caldwell, Alpha Omega Rho Chapter, Palomar College, CA

Mary Gladbach, Alpha Iota Gamma Chapter, Johnson County Community College, KS

Spencer Haydary, Omicron Eta Chapter, Rock Valley College, IL

Ryan Joseph, Omega Nu Chapter, Delgado Community College, LA

Robin Kay Keel, Alpha Xi Pi Chapter, Motlow State Community College, TN

Rachael Nelson, Pi Epsilon Chapter, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, MS

Hyo Jung Shin, Lambda Sigma Chapter, Queensborough Community College, NY

Andrew Sypher, Omicron Beta Chapter, Mesa Community College, AZ

Wafa Zeidan, Beta Theta Omicron Chapter, Skyline College, CA


In 2007, the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation challenged the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation to raise $350,000, which would be matched almost 2-1 by the Hites Family Foundation to create the $1 million scholarship endowment. During the Society’s 2009 Annual Convention, Foundation Trustees announced that Phi Theta Kappa had not only met, but exceeded the challenge, and the Hites Foundation issued a second, equally-successful matching challenge. In 2010, the Hites Foundation gave an additional $250,000 grant to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation for the scholarship endowment to allow more scholarships to be awarded to Society members.

The Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation was established by Robert Hites, an executive with Ralston-Purina in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon his retirement he fulfilled a lifelong dream and became an instructor at St. Louis Community College.

Hites turned down opportunities to teach at prestigious senior institutions because he valued the educational experience offered by community colleges and he witnessed the determination and will to succeed of his community college students. He also came to understand their needs and was determined to help them achieve their dreams, as he had achieved his.

Ray Hites, President of the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation and Robert’s brother, served as a Trustee for the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation until his death in 2015. His wife, Jackie Hites, now serves as a Trustee.

The Phi Theta Kappa Foundation is focused on long-term financial stability for Phi Theta Kappa. It is dependent upon the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to ensure its future through support of existing and establishment of new endowment funds. For more information on how to contribute to scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members through the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, visit or contact Dr. Nancy Rieves, CEO, at 1.800.946.9995, ext. 3537.

Phi Theta Kappa, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, U.S. territorial possessions and eight sovereign nations. More than 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.

For more information about the Phi Theta Kappa, go to


Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,
Katy French, Library 760-744-1150, ext. 3640,


Palomar College Fall Semester Begins August 17

ASL students amused_5024s

SAN MARCOS (August 6, 2015) – Activity is ramping up at Palomar College as faculty, staff and administrators prepare for fall semester, which begins Monday, August 17.

Palomar has experienced some big changes, both in terms of the physical campus and College personnel. Along with the ongoing construction of new modern buildings, new faces are showing up in the executive administration as well as in several divisions and departments throughout the College.

Interim Superintendent/President Adrian Gonzales said, “This is an exciting time for Palomar College. A lot of opportunities are out there for our students as we continue to grow and evolve into an institution that meets the ever-changing needs of our times.  We recently broke ground for a new Library/Learning Resource Center, which is going to be an amazing new addition to the state-of-the-art facilities students can benefit from.”

Gonzales was appointed to replace Robert P. Deegan, who retired as Superintendent/President at the end of June. In addition, Dan Sourbeer was appointed as Interim Vice President of Instruction and Mike Popielski as Interim Vice President of Human Resources, replacing Berta Cuaron and John Tortarolo, respectively. Cuaron and Tortarolo also retired in June.

The Library/Learning Resource Center is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Construction on a new baseball field is complete and scheduled to be officially open for for the Spring 2016 season.

There is still space available in a number of classes, but new and returning students are encouraged to apply and/or enroll as soon as possible to obtain the classes that best work for their schedules and educational objectives.

Palomar College has classes and programs to meet a wide variety of needs, from transfer readiness to preparation for specific career goals. Classes in English, history, math and the sciences are offered at different times, locations and in different formats. Space is also available in a number of English as a Second Language courses plus many other subject areas, from art to business  to water technology to dance.

In addition to the College’s San Marcos location, classes are offered at Palomar’s Escondido Education Center, along with sites at Camp Pendleton, Fallbrook, Pauma, and the recently-reopened site at Mt. Carmel High School.

California community college fees remain the most affordable higher education option at $46 a unit. Palomar College offers more than 250 associate degree and certificate programs, and has classes offered in a variety of formats, including traditional, online, video and Fast Track. For more information, visit


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Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,

Palomar to Host Veteran Education and Resource Street Fair

veteran in school clip image

July 20, 2015

Cammies to College (C2C) Veteran Education and Resource Street Fair
Palomar College to Host Event Aimed at Putting Veterans on Educational Paths to Success

Saturday, August 1, 2015
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Palomar College
Parking Lots 1 and 2
1140 West Mission Road
San Marcos, CA 92069

Hosted by Palomar College and sponsored by Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), a San Diego-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, C2C is a major college expo and education street fair designed to benefit active duty military, veterans and their family members interested in gaining  information regarding higher education options in Southern California. The event is free for all attendees.

The expo will feature a wide range of educational opportunities for attendees to explore. Exhibitors will include approximately 15 higher learning institutions – public and private universities, community colleges, and specialized  technical degree/certificate based programs.  In addition, approximately 20 military and veteran related community organizations, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, will be present assisting guests with various support services.

Congressional offices and regional elected officials will also have representatives at the expo supporting the event and to assist any way they can.

“We are honored to host this event, which will offer a wonderful array of educational resources to veterans and their families,” said Palomar College Interim Superintendent/President Adrian Gonzales.

Registration: To register please go to:!c2c/c1een

Guests should enter by driving North on N. Las Posas Road, then turn right on Avenida Azul, and right again into Parking Lot 12. The event will be held in Lots 1 and 2, with signs directing you from the parking lot. Parking permits are not required for this event. Those who wish to park in other lots must obtain a one-day visitor’s pass from Campus Police.

More information:
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs, 760-744-1150, ext. 2152
Melinda Finn, Public Affairs, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365
Ryan Williams, Veterans Services, 760-744-1150, ext. 7818


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Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs, 760-744-1150, ext. 2152,
Melinda Finn, Public Affairs, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Ryan Williams, Veterans Services, 760-744-1150, ext. 7818


President’s Associates to Sponsor Fundraising Gala September 12

HeatshotKing smalll for web

Comet Award Honoree Mark King

SAN MARCOS (August 27, 2015) –The Palomar College President’s Associates will host its 24th annual gala fundraiser at the world-class OMNI La Costa Resort & Spa on Saturday, September 12.

Drawing on the theme “Inspiration for the Future” the evening brings together a distinguished award for community leader Mark King, live and silent auctions, uplifting messages, student entertainment by the Palomar College Encore dancers, fine dining in an exquisite setting, and the pleasure of dancing to the Mark Lessman Band.

Proceeds from the event provide scholarships, textbook assistance, program support and other resources for Palomar College students.

“Hundreds of students every year are able to stay in school, complete their education, and be successful because of this event,” said Palomar College Foundation Executive Director Richard Talmo. “We encourage the community to join us for an evening that is fun and contributes to the success of our students and our local communities.”


The annual Comet Award, which recognizes leadership and community service by a distinguished citizen, will be presented to long-time North County philanthropist Mark King. King was CEO of Carlsbad-based TaylorMade Golf until his recent promotion to head the parent company, adidas North America. Despite the demanding schedule that went with being CEO of TaylorMade, King invested his time and effort in many North County nonprofit organizations including the Palomar College Foundation, Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club, and Solutions for Change.


The gala is benefitting from strong community interest. One reflection of that is the participation of volunteer co-chairs Juanita Hayes and Jeff Wohler.

Hayes, a San Marcos resident, is the public affairs manager for San Diego Gas and Electric. She brings her professional capabilities, knowledge of the community, and enthusiasm to coordination of an all-volunteer host committee of 74 people.

“Palomar College is an important community asset,” says Hayes, “and the annual gala provides support that maximizes the benefits of that asset for every community in the region.”


Jeff Wohler is Chief Operating Officer of War Horse, an organization that uses horses to facilitate organizational team building and individual learning. Wohler holds degrees in law and finance, and his expertise in both areas as well as his C-suite leadership skills are helping to shape this year’s Palomar College gala.

“The gala is an opportunity for the community to give every student the opportunity she or he deserves,” says Wohler. “The proceeds fund scholarships, textbook assistance, and other programs that help students succeed.”


Capitalizing on the picturesque coastal ambience, the evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a hosted reception while guests peruse the silent auction. In addition to the Comet Award and student entertainment, the program will include an inspirational message from John Paul De Joria, founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patrón Spirits Company.


Seats for this event are $300 each. Tables of 10, which include preferential seating and sponsorship recognition, are $3000 each.

Gala reservations, information and and sponsorship opportunities are available at or by calling 760-744-1150 ext. 2735.




Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,
Debbie King, Palomar College Foundation, 760-744-1150, ext. 2735,





Governing Board Welcomes Malik Spence

spence sworn in_0276

SAN MARCOS (July 8, 2015) – Palomar College Governing Board President John Halcón, left, congratulates Asssociated Student Government (ASG) President Malik Spence, after Spence was sworn in as Governing Board Student Trustee at the Board’s June meeting. Spence will serve in both positions for the 2015-2016 school year.

Partially visible behind Spence are, from left, Governing Board Vice President Mark Evilsizer and Secretary Nancy Ann Hensch. Trustee Nancy Chadwick is seated on the right.  Also in attendance were Trustee Paul McNamara and outgoing Palomar College Superintendent/President Robert Deegan, along with several other administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members.

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Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365
Laura Gropen, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150 x2152

ACCJC Reaffirms Palomar College Accreditation

SAN MARCOS, CA (June 30, 2015) — Palomar College received official notification that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) has reaffirmed the College’s accreditation .  ACCJC voted on this action at its June meeting.  The ACCJC accredits associate degree-granting institutions in the Western region of the United States.

“The ACCJC has recognized the College’s collective and focused efforts and we are very pleased to have received the news that our accreditation has been reaffirmed,” stated Robert P. Deegan, Palomar College President.  “I particularly want to acknowledge the Governing Board for their leadership.  I also want to thank the College’s Accreditation Writing Team and the faculty, staff, and administration for all of their work throughout this process.  I couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished on behalf of our students and the community.”

The ACCJC has asked Palomar College to submit a Follow-Up Report in October 2016, which will be followed by an external evaluation team visit.  The College was asked to address two recommendations:

  1. Ensure adequate tutorial support for distance education students;
  2. Create an environment that includes the participation of all employees in participatory governance and appropriate councils, committees, subcommittees, task forces, and workgroups.


For more information on the College’s Accreditation process and to view a copy of the Commission’s letter, go to


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Media Contact:  Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150 x2152
Melinda Finn, Public Affairs, Office, 760-744-1150

Palomar College Media Productions Receive Emmy Awards

Shown representing Palomar College Television (PCTV)  and Palomar College Digital Broadcast Arts (DBA) at the Emmy Awards event are, from left, PCTV Broadcast Operator Luke Bisagna; PCTV Graphic Artist Lily Patterson, PCTV Production Coordinator Mona Witherington; PCTV Producer Bill Wisneski; and  PCTV Video Editor Chris Culp. Pictured in the photo on the right are DBA students Jay Brown and Jennifer Fasulo, (photos courtesy of the PCTV and DBA departments)

SAN MARCOS (June 29, 2015) – Palomar College added to an already impressive record of Emmy Award wins with the results of this year’s competition for outstanding achievements in television and digital broadcast arts.

The Pacific Southwest Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its 2015 Emmy® Award winners at a ceremony held at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort in Palm Springs on Saturday, June 20. Once again, Palomar College staff and students were nominated in several categories and were well represented as the winners were announced.

Digital Broadcast Arts (DBA) students Jay Brown and Jennifer Fasulo received Emmys for their work in the student-produced television shows Palomar Live and North County News, respectively. PCTV personnel Lily Patterson, Bill Wisneski and Mona Witherington won Emmys for their work on the documentary Breaking Point. Continue reading “Palomar College Media Productions Receive Emmy Awards”