Community Invited to 12th Annual Gala to Raise Money for Student Scholarships and Campus Programs

Saddleback College invites all community members to the 12th annual foundation gala on Saturday, March 31st at 6:00 p.m. in the college’s gymnasium.  Tickets include gaming, a silent auction, dinner, music, and no-host cocktails.  This year’s theme is “A Glamorous Night of Stars” and will feature a tribute to five local community “stars” who have significantly donated to the college: The Bernard Osher Foundation, Dorothy Marie Lowry, Kia Motors, Linda Richardson Rice, and the Saddleback College Associated Student Government.

The gala will highlight the work of Saddleback students:  Culinary arts students will prepare and serve appetizers and desserts, fine arts students will accompany music instructor Joey Sellers’ jazz band to provide entertainment, event décor is being done by students of the Entertainment and Theatre Technology program, there will be several pieces painted by students that can be purchased, and a graphics class designed several printed pieces for the event.

Tickets are $100 each, $800 for a table of eight, or $1,000 for a table of 10.  Sponsorships for the event are available at two levels, Gold ($5,000) and Silver ($2,500).   For sponsorship opportunities or to reserve your tickets, please visit the event’s website at, call 949.582.4479, or email

“One of the most important missions of the Saddleback College Foundation is to raise money for students and the annual gala has always been the cornerstone for student scholarships,” said Donna Varner, President of Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors. “We are so thankful to our many sponsors, especially our Gold Sponsors — Cox Communications, Mercedes Benz of Laguna Niguel and South County Bank — as well as to every individual and business that donated the wonderful items for the silent auction.”

Saddleback College’s 2012 Alumnus of the Year, Nico Melendez, will also be honored at the gala.  After completing his general education at Saddleback College, Mr. Melendez transferred to Chaminade University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in historical and political studies.  He then earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy State University in 2000. Currently, Mr. Melendez is a professional broadcaster/communicator working for the Transportation Security Administration. An officer in the United States Naval Reserve, Mr. Melendez was named the 66th Assembly District Veteran of the Year in 2011.

The Saddleback College gymnasium is located at 28000 Marguerite Parkway in Mission Viejo. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to (949) 582-4479, or email Business casual attire is recommended; no jeans, please.

Adapted Kinesiology Walkathon Raises $10,000

The Saddleback College Foundation and the Adapted Kinesiology Program hosted a walkathon fundraiser on Wednesday, December 14th where they raised $10,000 and welcomed about 100 walkers to the trak. Proceeds from the event will help fund the Adapted Kinesiology Program, which helps students with developmental and physical disabilities stay active. In addition to the walkathon, the event featured a BallPark Pizza buffet lunch, demonstrations from Adapted Cycles, a Wounded Warriors obstacle course, and a Tai Chi demonstration.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President of Saddleback College, stated, “It is truly inspiring to see the dedication of so many students, faculty, staff, management, and community members work to preserve the invaluable services like those found in our college’s Adapted Kinesiology programs. Events like the ‘Back on Track’ walkathon provide innovative solutions to raise additional funds so that we can continue offering vital programs that serve our students and community.”

Terence Nelson, Assistant Dean of Counseling Services and Special Programs, stated, “The Adapted Kinesiology Program is important for the entire community as it helps adults of all ages who suffer from disabilities. The funds raised will go to a program that supports students with various challenges such as autism, brain and spinal cord injuries, and other chronic pain problems. The program is highly regarded and effectively run, touching the lives of hundreds of our community members.”

“Over the last few years, the Adapted Kinesiology Program has grown remarkably while our operating budget has declined due to the state’s financial situation. This fundraiser will allow us to continue to provide vital exercise programs for 350 disabled adults each semester, programs that can help keep people physically and mentally healthy,” stated Mike Bennett, Adapted Kinesiology instructor.

Saddleback Receives Donation from San Diego Gas & Electric

SDG&E External Affairs Representative and Foundation Board Member Duane Cave Presents a Check to President Burnett, Foundation Board Member Jim Leach, and Foundation Project Assistant Nancy Cho

A new website to help Saddleback College students find internships will be created in January, thanks to a generous $7,500 donation from San Diego Gas & Electric. The new site will be free to students.

According to the project proposal to SDG&E, in partnership with Irvine Valley College, Saddleback will develop an online internship system that will be accessible to hundreds of employers and more than 40,000 students each semester. The current internship system at Saddleback is successfully utilized by 250 students each semester and this new system is expected to more than double that number.

The free online system will enable employers to quickly fill internship openings, which allow students to obtain valuable work experience in their chosen career fields. The process also allows students who have not chosen a career path to test drive a career.