Former Saddleback College Soccer Player Honored as Top Female Scholar-Athlete


Mission Viejo, CAFormer Saddleback College soccer player Danielle Scelsi was honored as the top female scholar-athlete for the 2015-16 academic year at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Scholar-Athlete Luncheon on Wednesday, March 29.

Scelsi was selected out of nearly 26,000 female student-athletes participating throughout the CCCAA. She posted a perfect 4.00 grade average while at Saddleback and earned both the Fair-Play Character Champion Award for sportsmanship and the college’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor.

Scelsi is a product of Mission Viejo High School and spent two seasons at Saddleback College. During her sophomore season in fall 2015, she served as the team’s captain and helped the Gauchos win a record 16 games while also reaching the post-season playoffs for the third consecutive season. Scelsi earned first-team all-Orange Empire Conference honors and went on to earn Academic All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NCSAA). She currently attends UC Santa Barbara.

Former Saddleback baseball standout Luke Jarvis was also honored by the CCCAA as one of nine male scholar-athletes on the CCCAA State Honor Roll.  Jarvis, a product of Clairemont High School in San Diego, posted a 3.94 grade point average.  While playing shortstop for the Gauchos, Jarvis was a first-team all-conference selection during the Spring 2016 season.  He was named as Saddleback’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2015-2016.  Jarvis currently attends Auburn University where he is a member of their baseball team.

Tony Lipold, athletic director stated, “This is the highest academic honor in the state. To have Danielle win this award is a huge honor and a credit to the work she put in.  And Luke’s inclusion on the CCCAA Honor Roll shows the emphasis we put on academics and the message we’re trying to get across.  You can be successful both as a student and as an athlete.”

In addition to these individual awards, the 2016 Saddleback College men’s golf team was honored as a top CCCAA Scholar-Team.  The team posted an overall team grade point average of 3.12 to be recognized as the top golf program in the state for this academic honor under first-year head coach Wayne Westling.

Tod A. Burnett, Saddleback College president added, “To excel on the field and off the field is no easy feat, so I am thrilled for our student-athletes who were honored, and I congratulate them on their achievements. I am also proud of the Program Assisting Student-Athlete Success (PASS) academic program offered in our Learning Resource Center for helping our student-athletes be successful in the classroom.”


Saddleback College Hosts Successful First Amendment Series

Over the course of the last month, hundreds of students, staff, and faculty turned out to participate in the #UseYourVoice: Understanding the First Amendment in the 21st Century series aimed at helping the community better understand the complexities of the First Amendment.

Hosted by the Associated Student Government, Pre-Law Society, Academic Senate, Classified Senate, and Saddleback College president Tod A. Burnett, the series featured the following four workshops:

First Amendment in the Digital Age – How application of the first amendment has changed since the onset of technology and social media. The featured speakers were Saddleback College professors Mike Reed, Kendralyn Webber, Christina Hinkle, and Frank Gonzalez.

Videotaping and the “Gotcha” – The impact of the increased frequency of public videotaping and the search for the “gotcha” moment. The featured speaker was Attorney Shawn Steel.

Protected Speech: What Does and Doesn’t Violate Our Campus Policies – An overview of the state free speech laws and what generally constitutes protected speech. The featured speakers were Warren S. Kinsler and Sharon Ormond of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo Professional Law Corporation.

Free Speech vs. Academic Freedom – A discussion on the differences between free speech and academic freedom, as well as the First Amendment from a national perspective. The featured speaker was UCI Law School founding dean Edwin Chemerinsky.

Dr. Burnett stated, “Free speech, especially at higher education institutions, has become a hotbed of contention in our country. The four workshops provided a clearer understanding of the First Amendment and how Saddleback College upholds these principles while preserving academic freedom and a safe learning environment for all. I am proud that our college community engaged in an open and respectful dialogue on this sensitive issue.”

Lucy Hendrix, president of the Associated Student Government shared, “Free speech has always been a highly contentious issue on college campuses, but I think that it has become even more relevant since the November elections. I found that many students, including myself, were having difficulty understanding the First Amendment- especially in a modern context. I hope that this series opened the conversation at Saddleback College, so that students, as well as faculty members and other employees of the campus, feel knowledgeable about their speech rights and better able to communicate within our increasingly diverse community.”

Raja Riahi, president of the Saddleback College Pre-Law Society added, “Throughout the event, we tried to provide the students with the opportunity to learn more about their freedoms and the boundaries. At the last event of the series, our club proudly presented the Saddleback Student Bill of Rights in one condensed piece, which shares with students the rights available to them. Hearing each of the speakers talk about freedom of speech, which is also an important part of the bill, was truly remarkable.”


Community Invited to Honor Dr. Tod A. Burnett at 17th Annual Saddleback College Foundation Gala

Sponsorships and individual tickets are still available for the 17th Annual Saddleback College Foundation Gala to be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

The year’s gala will honor Dr. Tod A. Burnett, who is retiring from Saddleback College after nine years of exemplary service as president. “I am humbled by the foundation’s honor and I am extremely proud of the unprecedented work they have done over the past nine years. Last year the foundation awarded the most scholarships in the college’s history totaling $793,719 benefitting 517 students. I have no doubt that the foundation and community will continue increasing the annual level of financial assistance and support for Saddleback students each year going forward.”

The gala will also feature musical entertainment by the Saddleback College Jazz Ensemble, silent and live auctions, and gourmet dinner. The Valedictorian Sponsor of the gala is the Saddleback College Emeritus Institute. Since 1976, the Emeritus Institute has been California’s largest, non-credit, older adult education program serving nearly 6,000 students throughout south Orange County.

The 2017 Alumna of the Year will be awarded to Dr. Heather A. Allen, a Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Department of Pathology at The Ohio State University. Her research specialization is in molecular organization, ion pairing, and hydration at aqueous interfaces. She began her professorial career at Ohio State in 2000, and has since received the following recognitions for her research accomplishments: Research Innovation Award from Research Corp., NSF CAREER Award, Beckman Young Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Ohio State Distinguished Scholar Award, and the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award from Germany.

For gala sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please visit, call 949-582-4479, or email

The Saddleback College Foundation initiates and coordinates college and community fundraising in support of Saddleback College and its students. By raising funds for scholarships and other programs, which directly benefit students, the foundation is committed to increasing student success and the enhancing the excellent education offered by Saddleback College. Guided by a group of dedicated community leaders, the foundation strives to make higher education attainable for all in south Orange County. For more information, please visit

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides dynamic, innovative, and student-centered postsecondary education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 665,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 renowned degree, certificate, transfer, and lifelong learning programs to help students succeed in reaching their personal and career goals. For more information, please visit