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College district auxiliary director retiring

Posted on: Dec 10, 2012 1:00:00 AM
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Contact: Della Elliott della.elliott@gcccd.edu (619) 644-7690

Just two weeks away from retiring, Stan Schroeder, the head of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Auxiliary, was busy leading a statewide education conference in Sacramento. As his last day with the district draws nearer, Schroeder concedes his wife is a little worried.

“I think there’s a bit of anticipatory anxiety on her part, wondering how I will manage to keep busy at home,” said Schroeder, 65, who will retire Dec. 20 from his 10-year post as the director of the auxiliary, the nonprofit organization that solicits and administers grants and contracts on behalf of the district and its two colleges.

Indeed, the past decade has been a strategic and productive period for the San Carlos resident, who in 2002 was appointed as the first director of a fledgling organization given the broad dictate to garner revenue to supplement the college district’s budget that is heavily reliant on state funding.

As state funding trends sharply downward for higher education, more community college districts are exploring other revenue sources, but few have taken the approach that Grossmont-Cuyamaca has, Schroeder said, because of the financial commitment that such a venture requires.

“It involves a lot more than a college administrator deciding to spend a portion of their time writing grants,” Schroeder said. “We’re ahead of the game, with 10 years of successfully acquiring revenue beyond the support of the state. I think it’s because the district is not only committed to obtaining more grants, but also willing to provide the necessary resources. The district has the readiness, the capacity and the will.”

In the past 10 years, the auxiliary has brought in more than $55 million to the college district, averaging about 50 grant agreements annually to bolster college programs. For example, a three-year, $3.5 million regional grant awarded in 2004 by the state chancellor’s office helped pay for $100,000 high-tech, lifelike mannequins used in lab classes at Grossmont College’s Nursing and Allied Health Program.

The auxiliary currently administers about $7 million in grant projects that benefit the colleges and community, such as workforce training programs that have assisted hundreds of people, many of whom are laid-off workers hard hit by the recession.

The auxiliary also manages fiscal operations for the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, formed in 2011 as the philanthropic partner and fundraiser for the two colleges. It has also provided short-term support, such as handling donations for students and employees who faced losses from the 2003 firestorms, and managing the costs for Grossmont College’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration that began in 2011.

Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said the district took a big step in the right direction early on by selecting someone with Schroeder’s expertise and contacts in the field of workforce development to head the auxiliary.

“Employers are looking more than ever before to community colleges for a workforce trained and ready to perform the higher-skilled jobs of today,” she said. “Clearly, it’s essential to have a leader on board with the in-depth understanding of that nexus between business, manufacturing and the colleges. Stan has decades of experience in workforce education and is also skilled at designing and administering programs such as those overseen by the auxiliary.”

Schroeder has worked for nearly 40 years linking workforce education and economic development, and has served on numerous committees and advisory boards at the local, state, and national levels.

From 2000 to 2002 he was an associate dean at Grossmont College, heading the Leadership and Economic Development Institute, which worked closely with faculty to identify workforce training needs and prepare funding proposals for programs. From 1998 to 2000 he was the director of the East County Career Center, a comprehensive one-stop center for job-seekers who need training and job-search assistance. Prior to that, he worked 23 years at the San Diego Workforce Partnership, including nine years as the assistant chief executive of the major funding agency for job training programs countywide.

With Schroeder’s retirement, the auxiliary front office is being restructured with the addition of a director of administrative services, who started at the job about a month ago, and a new CEO concentrating more on grant development.

“The scale of grant funding that the auxiliary will focus on acquiring will be substantially more robust,” Schroeder said. “The kind of big grants that right now are obtained occasionally will become routine as the auxiliary expands its focus.”

Describing the hiring of former Cuyamaca College budget analyst Sara Suter to oversee the administration of the auxiliary as the “best retirement gift,” Schroeder says he’s ready to hand over the reins of an operation he developed and nurtured over the past decade. As for his wife’s concerns about his soon-to-be life of leisure, he laughs and says he’ll find plenty to do.

“Well, for starters, I’m going to Disneyland for two days with my 4- and 7-year-old grandchildren,” he said.

An avid hiker who has climbed Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome 12 times, Schroeder is also a devoted world traveler. His sojourns to 29 countries include a three-week stint in Bosnia as a member of a U.S State Department-selected delegation monitoring the first post-war local elections in 1997.

 “There are more trips that my wife and I plan to take,” he said. “New Zealand is next.”

Stan Schroeder standing with phone to his earAvid hiker and world traveler Stan Schroeder, retiring director of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Auxiliary, plans to do more of both after he steps downs from his post this month. Hanging in his office is a photo of him with a group of people atop Yosemite's Half Dome, which he's scaled a dozen times.

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