November 12, 2013
Celebrating our Veterans
As a military town, San Diego and its surrounding communities understand the significance of Veteran’s Day. At Southwestern College, we have long celebrated our veterans past and present, and this year our ceremonies took on a special meaning.
During our week-long celebration, we held an open house for the new Veterans’ Resource Center and held a memorable Veterans’ Day ceremony. The best part of the celebrations was that they were student-centered.
Members of the Student Veterans Organization welcomed Congresswoman Susan Davis, Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox as well as field representatives from several of our state and federal elected officials. Each of them presented a proclamation celebrating the opening of the Veterans’ Resource Center and the college’s commitment to supporting student veterans.
L-R: Southwestern College Governing Board President Humberto Peraza, Jr., Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, Student Veteran Organization Adviser Jim Jones, Congresswoman Susan Davis, Student Veteran Organization President Tim Walsh, myself, State Senator Ben Hueso Representative Mabi Castro, Congressman Juan Vargas Representative Jay Moore.
Providing a Helping Hand
As we begin to hear more about the typhoon devastation in the Philippines, it is natural for us to want to help. Thanks to Political Science Professor Phil Saenz, we will have several options. Professor Saenz is currently working with several local organizations that have direct ties with the affected communities in the Philippines. St. Michael’s Church in Paradise Hills will accept donations of clothing, blankets and other items. Catholic Relief Services will accept donations to purchase water purification kits for $8. And Gawad Kalinga in Poway (http://gk-usa.org/) is putting together food packs for $5 per pack.
Professor Saenz is hoping to put together an event on campus on Thursday. We’ll update this column once plans become finalized.
One of my long-term goals has been to increase the number of international students enrolling in Southwestern College. International students bring a richness and diversity that directly support our Strategic Plan value of cultural competence to engage our college community in developing a deep appreciation of and collegiality among all cultures.
Our efforts are steps closer to reality with a new partnership with the State of Qatar. Qatar—which was ranked as the 19th most peaceful country in the world by the Global Peace Index—is interested in training cohorts of young men to learn the maritime industry. Next month we hope to bring to the Governing Board the master agreement outlining the duties of our partners at the Qatar Embassy, the San Diego-based Maritime Institute and EC English in La Jolla to prepare the cohorts for success on the seas.
Embassy officials will work closely with us and our partners to provide strict oversight of the students, including academic interventions. As Mr. Mahmoud Sabri, the director of academic affairs for the Embassy’s Security Attaché office, has said, these students are here for an education, not a vacation.
I’m excited about this new partnership. Continue looking in this column for updates.
Taking a tour of the campus:
Joining me on a tour are Mr. Mahmoud Sabri, director of academic affairs for the Embassy’s Security Attaché office, Martha Delgadillo and Heather Giammona of EC English, Dr. Angelica Suarez, Miss Samera Agha, academic advisor for the Embassy’s Security Attaché office and “Rags” Laragione, president of the Maritime Institute (obscured).