In this issue

What's New | Congratulations! | In the NewsHello/Goodbye | Calendar

What's New

I’m retiring…again!

For those who are not aware, I retired from Cuesta College once before. My career at Cuesta began in 1967 when I was hired as a math instructor and football coach. Over the years, I saw the college grow, and my career morph from the classroom to administration where I helped develop policies, procedures and programs supporting student success. After retiring as Vice President of Student Services in 2004, I didn’t quite ride off into the sunset; instead, I immediately returned to work. After teaching math on a part-time basis and filling various interim administration roles, I (literally) answered the call to assume the role of the president/superintendent. It was 2010, and the college was facing a difficult road ahead with accreditation and budgetary issues making for a challenging ride. After more than half a century with Cuesta College, it is time for that “ride into the sunset.” At the Fall Opening Day Ceremony in August, I announced my intent to retire, effective June 30, 2018. I am confident that the college is prepared for a change in leadership, a change that can provide new energy, new ideas, and new vision. A nationwide search for my replacement is now underway. For more information, call Human Resources at extension 3129 or check out this press release.

DACA & Cuesta College

In response to the Trump Administration’s recent action to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Cuesta College released a statement strongly denouncing the decision to end DACA. Cuesta College remains committed to serving all students, regardless of immigration status, and to providing safe and welcoming environments in which to learn. We will do all within our authority to assist students affected by this decision. One such action is a free event being held on the SLO Campus to provide information and resources to those affected on the Central Coast. “Sharing the Dream: Supporting Undocumented Students and Their Families” will offer a forum with keynote speakers, breakout sessions and a resource fair on September 22 from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the CPAC. To read the college’s full statement on DACA and to learn more about the forum, click here.

Reflecting on the Fall 2017 Opening Day Ceremony

opening day speaker 1opening day speaker2

On August 18, the college held its annual Fall Opening Day Ceremony. In addition to honoring Years of Service and conducting award recognitions (which you can read more about in the “Congratulations!” section), this year’s event featured keynote speakers Dr. J. Luke Wood and Dr. Frank Harris, III. The San Diego State University professors presented the audience of nearly 300 Cuesta employees with strategies for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion inside and outside of the classroom. The goal was to build an inclusive culture that fosters respect for diversity and equity for under-represented groups at Cuesta College. Following Opening Day, professional development resources were emailed to all users following the event; please direct any questions to extension 2323.

The District’s 2017-18 Final Budget is Now Available

The district’s 2017-18 final budget was approved by the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on September 6 and is now available to view in Banner. The approved budget reflects the values, priorities, and goals for the district. Please refer all questions to Fiscal Services at extension 3135.

Learn More about the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan

In order to introduce the SLOCCCD 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, keep you all informed about district planning, and keep the district engaged in the planning process, the college is offering two launch events for the new strategic plan. The events will focus on continuous, open dialogue between all district employees, strategic plan 2017-2020 responsible parties, and the Strategic Planning Committee. Choose one (or both) of the following dates to attend:

  • September 22, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • October 27, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Both sessions are being held on the SLO Campus in room 5401. RSVP to Cindy Dilbeck at

Learn How to Start & Grow a Business

start a business

Interested in starting or growing a business? Check out a free seminar - led by Cuesta College Business Instructor Gary Rubin – where attendees will learn about the entrepreneurship mindset, funding sources, leasing, marketing, and more. The seminar will be held in SLO at the PG&E Education Center. If you are interested in attended, choose among the following three dates:

  • September 13, 12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • September 20, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • September 30, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

To RSVP, email

Faculty Lecture Series: The Hollister Adobe


The Cuesta College Faculty Lecture Series is kicking off the 2017-2018 academic year with a lecture by Emeritus History Instructor Dennis Judd about the Hollister Adobe, which is located on the SLO Campus. The lecture will take place October 11, from 4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m., in room 6305. The Hollister Adobe was originally owned by a soldier of the mission system in the 1830's. Learn more about the Adobe’s history and the efforts to restore it. Questions? Email Lara Baxley.

Register Now: Central Coast Writers Conference

The 33rd annual Cuesta College Central Coast Writers Conference, presented by Cuesta’s Community Programs, is set to take place September 28 – 30 on the college’s SLO Campus. The conference includes more than 60 presenters and offers affordable interactive workshops that teach skill development in a variety of writing genres to both aspiring and established writers. For more information and to register, visit the Cuesta College Central Coast Writers Conference website.

The 2018 Book of the Year has Been Announced!

Book of the yearIt’s the 10th anniversary of the Cuesta College Book of the Year Program, and this year’s selection will bring renowned author and speaker Ron Suskind onto campus on March 19, 2018, to discuss his recent memoir, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism. The bestselling book shares the Suskind family’s two-decade-long journey of finding a way to connect with their autistic son Owen. You can purchase the memoir in the campus bookstore or check it out of the campus libraries. More details will be announced soon. For more information, contact Carina Love ( Denise Fourie ( or follow the Book of the Year Facebook page at Cuestabook.

Register Now: Learning Disabilities Conference

The Cuesta College 2017 Learning Disabilities Conference, set for October 20 on the SLO Campus, will focus on providing tools and strategies for understanding human resilience, the limits of emotional endurance, and prevention and reduction of compassion fatigue. The event will include keynote speaker Dr. Mark Katz, published author and expert in the field of human resilience. To register, visit Eventbrite or call extension 3148.

Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery Current& Upcoming Exhibit

Anila Agha

The SLO Campus’s Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery has a great line-up of shows for this fall. Currently the space is hosting artist Anila Agha’s All the Flowers Are For Me, running through September 22. Agha’s artworks explore global politics, cultural multiplicity, mass media, and gender roles in our current cultural scenario. Head over to room 7170 to check out the piece currently on display (pictured here). Later this month, the gallery will host the Inverse Performance Art Festival (September 28-30), which seeks to elevate the medium of performance and facilitate innovative and performative work. Want to know more? Call the gallery at extension 3202.

Cuesta Police Department Holds “Pink Patch” Fundraiser

pink patchThe Cuesta College Police Department is offering a special “pink patch” edition of its police patches as a fundraiser to support breast cancer research and treatment. A limited supply of the patches are available for $10 each. All proceeds will benefit the Hearst Cancer Resource Center at French Hospital in San Luis Obispo. Cash or checks accepted, email to reserve your patch.

Cuesta Athletics Sponsors “Don’t Cook Tonight”

Support the Cuesta Athletics Boosters club and participate in “Don’t Cook Tonight” on September 25. You can purchase a smoked whole chicken ($10) and full racks of baby back ribs ($20); call extension 3207 to find out how.

Cuesta Students Receive $340K in Scholarships

For the 2017-18 academic year, the college awarded 239 students with scholarships, disbursing $340,564 in funds to support student success. On August 11, nearly 250 scholarship donors and student recipients attended the 28th annual Scholarship Reception. A total of 449 scholarships were awarded this year. You can check out photos of the recipients on the Scholarship Reception webpage.


Fall Opening Day Awards

Congratulations to the following five individuals who received prestigious award recognitions at the Fall 2017 Opening Ceremony!

Academic Employee of the Year: Dr. Christopher Gilbert, Philosophy Instructor

Classified Employee of the Year: Sean Landers, IT User Support

Management Senate Employee of the Year: Erin Lastreto, Director of Assessment and SSSP

President’s Leadership Award: Patrick Scott, Financial Aid Director

Teaching Excellence Award: Dennis Baeyen, English Instructor

Paramedic Program Graduation

paramedic graduation

On September 8, the Paramedic Program graduated 18 students – congratulations to Class 11! In addition, graduates Scott Sherrill and Jamie McRoy received the Christopher Meadows EMS Education Scholarship, while Class 6 graduate (and current EMS Programs Teaching Assistant) Silas Fischer received the Dave Melendy EMS Recognition Award. Fischer was recognized for his heroic efforts in the successful resuscitation of a citizen at a Cayucos fire meeting who suffered cardiac arrest. Fischer was off-duty at the time. Class 11 also saw two combat veteran students graduate: Rob Reynolds (US Army) and Scott Sherrill (United States Marine Corps).


In the News

Over the past few weeks, the following media segments included good news about Cuesta College.

  • Cuesta’s denouncement of the DACA decision was included in the New Times, KSBY and The Cuestonian.
  • The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum was publicized via an editorial in The Tribune and a mention by KSBY. Following the event, a Letter to the Editor was featured in The Tribune, speaking to the forum’s success and impact.
  • My retirement announcement was reported by KSBY, The Tribune, The Paso Robles Daily News, KEYT, The Pacific Coast Business Times, New Times, and The Cuestonian. I was also featured in The Pacific Coast Business Times’s article discussing the future of CA community colleges.
  • The college's agriculture program is expanding and the New Times helped get the word out with a great feature article.
  • As the fall semester gets rolling, the New Times included transportation information to help students get to and from campus.
  • The Tribune and The Cuestonian  helped spread the word about the Start & Grow Your Own Business Seminar.
  • The upcoming Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery exhibit Inverse Performance Art Festival was previewed in the New Times.
  • The current Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery exhibit featuring artist Anila Agha was featured in New Times and on KSBY.
  • A recent visit to campus by Tibetan monks – during which they created a sand mandala – was featured on KSBY.
  • Last month’s solar eclipse viewing event on campus was previewed by The Paso Robles Daily News and The Tribune, and then included in local eclipse coverage by KSBY, The Tribune and New Times.
  • A group of students from the California Cadet Corps had a new alternative summer camp this year - NETLAB+ was the backbone of the cyber track at the California Cadet Corps Summer Encampment, held at Camp San Luis Obispo. Cuesta’s Engineering Technology Instructor Chris Akelian led the camp; read all about it in the CA Community Colleges NETLAB+ User Group blog.
  • The Tribune shared the news that this year the college awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student scholarships.
  • The college’s new softball coach Jenel Guadagno got a shout out on KSBY.
  • Retired Cuesta Photography Instructor Marta Peluso was featured in a Tribune article recently after she spent 17 hours driving her father and his friend away from Hurricane Irma to Alabama.
  • Auditions for the Cuesta College Master Chorale group were announced by The Paso Robles Daily News and The Tribune.


As the Cuesta family changes, I would like to acknowledge our new full-time employees, changes in assignments, and those employees, both full-time and part-time, who are retiring. At the September 6 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the following action took place:

Classified/Confidential New Hires
  • Mallory Cronan, Library Division/Department Assistant
  • Rasha Demeter, Financial Aid Technician
  • Cynthia Dilbeck, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent/President and Board of Trustees
  • Jacob Haffner, IT Network and Systems Administrator
  • Michelle Peters, Performing Arts Division/Department Assistant
  • Troy Quimby, Agriculture Science Laboratory Technician
  • Yesenia Vazquez, South County Center Assistant
Promotions/Interim Appointments
  • Danielle Leone, Financial Aid Technician
  • Cherie Moore, Interim Division Chair Applied Behavioral Sciences
  • Adrienne Smith, Interim Director of Outreach, Orientation, and Success Activities
Management Retirement
  • Gil Stork, Superintendent/President


Here’s a look at some of the events going on around campus. For the full calendar, visit the Cuesta College Events Calendar.

  • September 16: Cuesta Choirs in the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery
  • September 19: SLO Food Bank Distribution Site open
  • September 22: SLOCCCD 2017-2020 Strategic Plan Launch Event
  • September 22: DACA Event: "Supporting the Dream; Supporting Undocumented Students and Their Families"
  • September 25: Athletics Boosters "Don't Cook Tonight"
  • September 28-30: Central Coast Writers Conference
  • September 28-30: Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery Exhibit: Inverse Performance Art Festival
  • October 11: Faculty Lecture Series: Hollister Adobe

Questions? Comments? Email