VICTOR VALLEY COLLEGE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2019 ALUMNI HALL OF FAME AND DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD CELEBRATION WINNERS

VICTORVILLE, CA – On Saturday, February 23, 2018 the Victor Valley College Foundation will hold its annual Alumni Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards event.

With the help of the presenting sponsor, Desert Valley Hospital/Desert Valley Medical Group, the Foundation will honor five notable award recipients during the 26th anniversary of the event. Proceeds raised during the eveni
ng will benefit scholarship funds for local students and the college’s educational programs.

The five key guests of honor at the event this year will be: President’s’ Choice awardee Dr. Roger Wagner, Alumni Hall of Fame awardee Lana Tomlin, Distinguished Community Service awardee Chet Hitt, Distinguished Service to Education awardee Dr. Derek King and Young Alumni Hall of Fame awardee Dillon Lesovsky.

Wagner, who recently retired as VVC’s superintendent/president, joined the college at a critical time in 2014, when it was facing financial and accreditation challenges.

After four and a half years, he left VVC not only in good standing with its budget and accreditation, but also with a renewed campus climate. He taught “servant leadership,” a philosophy those who worked with him say he lived out.

“The College has seen a great deal of change and growth over the past five years — new programs, increased staffing, a renewed emphasis on support services for students and new modern facilities,” Wagner said. “Whatever accomplishments inspired this award I assure you, were the efforts of many individuals. It’s a great honor, one that I will cherish forever.”

A dedicated public servant, Lana Tomlin has worked as a deputy sheriff for 29 years in the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Last year she became the first woman in the department’s 165-year existence appointed to Assistant Sheriff. Her accomplishments as community leader made her the perfect recipient for the 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame award.

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award and be included with past recipients, many of whom I have long admired and respected,” Tomlin said. “Victor Valley College is all about opportunity. It afforded me the opportunity to complete my associate degree and further my education while working and raising a family … VVC will always hold a special spot in my heart for the many opportunities it has afforded me.”

Born and raised in the Victor Valley, Chet Hitt is well-known in the community as the owner of Sunset Hills Cemetery in Apple Valley. He is also a powerful advocate for local charities and has founded two non-profit foundations. Those who nominated him spoke highly of his “unbelievably soft heart” and compassion in helping hundreds of grieving families during the hardest times in their lives. These traits made him the top choice for this year’s community service award.

A proud veteran of the U.S. Army, Dr. Derek King has worked in education through local, regional and statewide roles, currently as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services for Excelsior Charter Schools. He has served as a trustee for the Victor Valley Union High School District Board and recently as Director of the Board for the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce. King’s resume, mixed with the endorsements from those who’ve worked with him and recognize his passion for bettering the community, were a recipe for his selection as this year’s service to education award recipient.

The Young Alumni Hall of Fame is being awarded for the first time this year. Dillon Lesovsky, who has served as a representative for both Congressman Paul Cook and First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, was selected as the first recipient. Lesovsky, 25, has served as the chairman of the High Desert Economic Summit, raising money to support scholarships for VVC students, and currently works for ComAv Asset Management, developing international business relationships with the commercial aircraft industry. The Foundation is excited to continue watching him flourish in his career in the High Desert community.

The Alumni Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards Celebration will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville on Saturday, February 23, 2019, from 6 to 10 p.m. In addition to celebrating the honorees, the event will feature dinner, dancing and a silent auction. Tickets and sponsorships for the event are available at www.vvcfoundation.com.

 

CRACKER BARREL ESTABLISHES A SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT AT VVC

CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE® ESTABLISHES A SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT AT VVC

Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Catherine Abbott, Executive Director, Victor Valley College District Foundation: Catherine.abbott@vvc.edu | T: 760-245-4271 x 2523 | www.vvcfoundation.com

VICTORVILLE, CA: As the first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® in the state of California prepares for its grand opening in Victorville this February, the company is teaming up with the Victor Valley College Foundation to establish a $10,000 scholarship endowment at Victor Valley College (VVC), to provide an annual scholarship in perpetuity to Restaurant Management students to demonstrate its long-term commitment to the Victor Valley community.

In addition, to celebrate the opening of its new location in Victorville, Cracker Barrel has partnered with VVC to offer three $1,000 scholarships for restaurant management students enrolled in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The gesture comes as the Homestyle eatery is set to make history by laying its first roots in the local region. Becoming a part of the fabric of the community aligns with the company’s “Pleasing People” mission to help others in need.

“We are excited about this new partnership with the College and the opportunity to showcase our long-term commitment to the community and new home in California,” said Cracker Barrel Manager of Corporate Citizenship Sloane Lucas. “The company, and our Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Foundation, have a long history of supporting the pursuit of higher education, including awarding over $1 million in scholarships to more than 800 students since the inception of our annual Employee Scholarship Program. Our partnership with VVC is a natural extension for our brand as we open our first California location.”

In fall of 2018, students enrolled in the hospitality program at VVC, will be eligible to receive scholarships to assist them with their financial needs. The endowment will support up to two students each year with a $500 scholarship. Students interested in applying for scholarships can do so beginning January 16, 2018 during opening day of the Foundation’s scholarship drive. The online application can be found and requires an essay along with two letters of reference.

“An endowment from a national brand with local ties is a first-of-its-kind for VVC, and it’s an extremely generous gift for any corporate partner in the restaurant industry,” said Victor Valley College Foundation Board President Eric Schmidt. “Cracker Barrel is demonstrating how collaboration is a key ingredient to setting our community up for success.”

About the Victor Valley College Foundation
The Victor Valley College Foundation is a charitable organization that makes friends and raises funds providing resources to help Victor Valley College better serve its students and community. Visit www.vvcfoundation.com or find us on Facebook to join the growing number of people and organizations who contribute to support our mission.

Marking a ‘major milestone’

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Contact: Catherine Abbott – 760.245.4271 ext. 2523, catherine.abbott@vvc.edu

VICTOR VALLEY COLLEGE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2018 ALUMNI HALL OF FAME AND DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD CELEBRATION WINNERS

VICTORVILLE, CA – On Saturday, February 24, 2018 the Victor Valley College Foundation will hold its annual Alumni Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards event. For over 40 years, the Foundation has been helping to bring the community together. With the help of the presenting sponsor, Desert Valley Hospital/Desert Valley Medical Group, the Foundation marks a major milestone and will honor four notable award recipients during the 25th Anniversary of the event. Proceeds raised during the evening will support and promote the importance of education in the community.

The recognition ceremony was started by Victor Valley College’s former Public Information Officer, William Gruelich. “Bill” as he was known to his close friends, was an alum of Michigan State University and understood the importance of acknowledging members of the Valley who were doing important work to support the community and the College. Sadly, Bill passed away in 2016. He will always be remembered for his notable contributions to Victor Valley College.

Plans for this year’s event will follow a similar recipe to years past. The Foundation will recognize a Victor Valley College Alumni whose success reflects positively on their alma mater, honors a community servant, highlights an advocate for education and acknowledges a friend of the College. The four recipients include: a retired fire chief, a former mayor and councilmember of Hesperia, a retired peace officer and professor and finally a leader who never worries about possible obstacles in his path, but instead finds solutions to make things work.

The Alumni Hall of Fame is proud to honor and award this year’s inductee, Sid Hultquist. Sid served as the Fire Chief for the Apple Valley Fire Protection District and is proud to have been a part of re-opening two of its closed fire stations. Together with a team of individuals, they successfully passed a tax measure in 2016 which secured permanent funding to add additional firefighters and reduce critical response times. “Improving the quality of life for the citizens of Apple Valley was one of the last and most important things I wanted to accomplish before I retired,” said Sid. He graduated with his degree from Victor Valley College in 1993, but took his first EMT class ten years prior. Sid says he considers VVC to be a big factor of his success in the fire service industry. “VVC plays an important role in giving citizens of all ages the opportunity to enrich their lives whether it’s to pursue a degree, certification, a new skill or hobby or just make you a better employee, “ said Sid. “It gave me the tools I needed to be competitive and to advance in a career where public safety is on the line. VVC offers the ability for all of us to pursue our dreams.”

This year, the Distinguished Community Service honor recognizes the contributions of Thurston “Smitty” Smith. Smitty is a former mayor and councilmember for the City of Hesperia. His leadership, dedication and commitment to his community earned him the support of his constituents and the friendship of his peers. There is rarely an event which Smitty doesn’t attend but he is not just another face in the audience, rather, he takes an active role for the betterment of the Valley. “I love the High Desert and I want to be involved,” Smitty said. “I want my community to be the best it can be.” Some of Smitty’s proudest accomplishments while serving on council include; the completion of the Hesperia Civic Plaza Park, the Ranchero Underpass and the Ranchero Bridge project. Although, he is retired from his concrete pumping business and service to the council, Smitty is still a constant in the community. He can be found serving pancakes for the local high school wrestling team, staging entrants for local parades, chairing the Victor Valley Bicycle tour and serving on numerous non-profit boards. Currently, he serves on Mojave Water Agency’s Board of Directors. It’s a position he calls intriguing and important to our region. “Water is life and it is important that we have good quality for lasting generations,” Smitty said.

Receiving the Distinguished Education Service Award is former VVC Administration of Justice Director and Department Chair, Michael Visser. Mike’s career in law enforcement spans over three decades before retiring as an Assistant Chief of Police. During his long tenure, his background included teaching law enforcement at the Riverside Sheriff’s Academy, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Academy, University of Hawaii, National University, Imperial College and Fort Irwin. Early in his life, Mike learned the martial arts of Judo and Karate. It was an art he loved to share and pass on to others, especially his students. Over the years, he encouraged thousands of students to also focus on obtaining careers in law enforcement and suggested tips and pathways to achieve their goals. Some of his notable achievements include: being instrumental in helping Victor Valley College open the Regional Public Safety Training Center (RPSTC) in Apple Valley in 2012, assisted VVC Campus Police with obtaining new firearms and training and lent his support to help the campus with emergency drills such as “The Great Shakeout” and “Active Shooter Training”. He passed the love of teaching to his son John, who is now an adjunct faculty member in the program. “People helped me when I was in community college as well as my peers when I entered law enforcement. I felt it was important to give back and help as many students as I could,” recalled Mike.

The Presidents’ Award for 2018 recognizes a person(s) or organization for their impact on the College. This year, Chief Executive Officer of Desert Valley Hospital/Desert Valley Medical Group, Fred Hunter rose to the top of the list due to his personal investment in Victor Valley College’s (VVC) Nursing Program. In 2016, Desert Valley Hospital brokered a contract with VVC to pay for 64 students to enter the nursing program, thus reducing the program’s lengthy waitlist. As an additional benefit, the students are offered three year employment contracts at Dr. Reddy’s flagship hospital in the High Desert. Although his time is stretched thin, Fred goes above and beyond to ensure his students are making the grade. He not only personally checks in with every student but holds group study sessions to provide extra tutoring. “Dr. Reddy set the culture of giving back, and I knew I had the responsibility to uphold his legacy,” said Fred. “I am very humbled to receive this recognition. I am doing what I think is the right thing for the students. I am all about their success and there are no words to express my gratitude.” Fred was selected by a joint selection from the College’s three presidents – VVC Superintendent/President Roger Wagner, Board of Trustees President Brandon Wood (during his 2017 term on the board) and the Foundation Board President Eric Schmidt. Fred currently serves as a Vice President on the Victor Valley College Foundation Board of Directors and is a strong supporter of many community events and non-profits throughout the High Desert.

The Alumni Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards Celebration will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at 6 p.m. In addition to celebrating the honorees, the event will feature dinner, dancing and silent auction. This will also be the final year for the High Desert Lip Sync Competition. Tickets and sponsorships for the event are available at www.vvcfoundation.com.

“PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS” AUTHOR CHRIS GARDNER TO SERVE AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT HIGH DESERT OPPORTUNITY SUMMIT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 11, 2018

Contact: Cari Thomas, cell (760) 780-7908, email: info@highdesertopportunity.com

Catherine Abbott, office (760) 245-4271 x 2523, email: catherine.abbott@vvc.edu

“PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS” AUTHOR CHRIS GARDNER TO SERVE AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT HIGH DESERT OPPORTUNITY SUMMIT

Wells Fargo Senior Economist Sarah House to Headline Economic Forecast

VICTORVILLE, CA – Entrepreneur, international best-selling author and award winning film director Chris Gardner, will serve as the keynote speaker for the High Desert Opportunity Summit on Thursday, October 25th in Victorville. Gardner is possibly best recognized as the character serving as inspiration for the film “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith. The film chronicled Gardner’s rise from a single homeless father to a successful Wall Street businessman.

Earlier this year, the High Desert Economic Summit and High Desert Opportunity joined forces to organize a strengthened event in the Victor Valley focused on showcasing the region for business retention and attraction, as well as an economic forecast of the Victor Valley and Inland Empire Region. Additionally, the October event will feature its traditional exhibitors building, offering local municipalities, utilities and businesses the opportunity to display and interact with attendees.

High Desert Opportunity Summit will return to its home in the High Desert at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. HDO has a rich history in the region and is designed to draw business owners and site locaters from out of the area, introducing them to the benefits of expanding or relocating to the Valley.

With the recent merger of the High Desert Economic Summit and High Desert Opportunity, this years’ one-day summit will be re-vamped to underline the significant relationship between educational attainment rates and its impact on the region’s economic development.

The economic forecast will feature the event’s first female economist, Sarah House, director and senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, House covers the U.S. macro economy, including the labor market, inflation trends, and manufacturing sector. She regularly produces topical commentary, writes indicator reports, and contributes to the company’s Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary.

Proceeds of “High Desert Opportunity Summit” are benefiting the Victor Valley College Foundation, which provides scholarship and grant opportunities to students at Victor Valley College.

For future updates, visit www.HighDesertOpportunity.com or visit us at www.Facebook.com/highdesertopportunity.

About High Desert Opportunity. High Desert Opportunity (HDO) is the premier High Desert event annually showcasing local businesses and development opportunities for new and expanding businesses. The goal of the event is to support economic growth and stability by attracting businesses and jobs to the High Desert. The region encompasses the cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia and Victorville as well as portions of San Bernardino County. In its 37th year, High Desert Opportunity continues to grow and evolve, focusing on the benefits of doing business in the High Desert.

About the Victor Valley College Foundation. The Victor Valley College Foundation is a charitable organization that makes friends and raises funds to help Victor Valley College better serve its students and community. For over 40 years, the Foundation has served as the alumni relations, community outreach and resource development partner of VVC. Visit www.vvcfoundation.com or find us on Facebook to join the growing number of people and organizations who contribute to support our mission. For more information about Victor Valley College and the programs available, visit www.vvc.edu.

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