BY COLIN CHAPDELAINE
Photo courtesy of College of the Desert. Superintendent/President Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D, faculty and students listen to scholarship recipients share their stories of success at a special event in the COD gymnasium on Feb. 13, 2019.
In keeping with tradition, College of the Desert faculty and students gathered in the campus gymnasium on Wednesday, Feb. 13 to honor COD Foundation donors and recipients of over $500,000 worth of scholarships. As the recipients filled the gym dressed in business casual attire, they were given the opportunity to meet with and thank their donors firsthand.
Donors give the COD Foundation thousands of dollars annually to help students with tuition, books, childcare and transportation. The students apply for the scholarships and are studying various disciplines on campus. The reception was well attended. Hundreds of students had a chance to say thanks. Palm Springs’ Lulu California Bistro catered the event, offering fresh food to include meat and vegan options to satisfy all those in attendance.
To begin the evening’s ceremonies, NBC Palm Springs Anchor, Thalia Hayden, the Master of Ceremonies, introduced the event and the evening’s speakers. COD Superintendent/President Joel Kinnamon, Ed.D headlined the bill of speakers, followed by a quartet of inspiring words by scholarship recipients and donors, each sharing their own story on how donating or receiving the funds has changed their life.
Standing out among the speakers was COD Dean’s List recipient Joshua Kroll, whose speech detailed his time spent homeless and sleeping in his car on COD’s campus at night. It wasn’t until a campus security guard confronted him and led him to the admissions office, helping to change his life.
“I could let you sleep here if you were a student,” the security guard told him. “Have you thought about registering for at least one class? You can change your life with an education.” Kroll’s speech was a touching tribute to the impact that the donors have on every recipient. The event allows donors to put a face to their gratuitous donations, and for recipients, they get the opportunity to express their gratitude to their donors.
When asked about her time hosting the event, NBC’s Thalia Hayden said “It was cool. I’m asked to emcee events a lot, and there are some that will stick with me, and I think this one will…It was moving, and I’m happy to be a part of this.”
“When anyone gives anything with a good heart, he or she becomes a philanthropist, a catalyst for love,” said Kroll, addressing his fellow students in his speech. “If you haven’t already, commit to give back to others, what has been freely given to you.”