Impressive Moves at Gavilan

Kathleen Rose

Gavilan College is a gem for Gilroy and the surrounding counties and after hearing a report from new President Kathleen Rose we are encouraged with the way the school is growing in new courses, new buildings and a strong spirit of social justice.
One of the first things Rose has had to do in her eight months as leader was to buy a plane. The campus has expanded to San Martin Airport with airplane maintenance classes, and, in keeping with jobs of the times, a program to learn to fly and use drones. One of the great challenges in community education is keeping up with a job market that moves so fast, courses can become obsolete before students graduate.  Studying drones and their impacts on our agricultural area is a brilliant stroke. So is moving into aviation, a field that given predictions for the flying car-like vehicles that are becoming more than science fiction, is one for the future.
The 9,670-student school has expanded agricultural studies and built a campus arboretum, which serves students and community members who want to hike through an educational and beautiful outpouring of plants and trees. It is also building up its hospitality management program, again, something that should help Gilroyans get into a market that is growing locally and nationally.
The school, which employs 436 people and has a $43 million budget, has fulfilled a promise to grow northwards, opening 13 criminal justice classes at its new Bailey Road building just over the border in San Jose at the end of this month. Rose is also studying how to better serve San Benito County residents with new buildings and programs there.
On the social justice front, the campus, working with the Second Harvest Food Bank and St. Joseph’s Family Center  has set up a food bank for needy students who can pick up goods from a room in back of the library weekdays T 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Studies showed 33 percent of students weren’t always sure of where the next meal was coming from–or, in campus speak–”suffering food insecurity.”
Rose is finalizing plans to build a football stadium on the Gilroy campus, something for athletics and for events, such as concerts. It’s been talked about for much of the school’s 100-year history and she promised to see it completed on her watch. She’s also rebuilding a leaky swimming pool.
Just this week, she and other community college presidents were reviewing how to respond to threats of deportation and pulling of services for undocumented students. Rose said she was optimistic that the community college system would continue to offer services to all students, as it has throughout its history.
“I think you should have faith in the leadership of the community colleges,” she said “Because the new chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, is very global thinking. He’s a visionary who has come up through the ranks and has a very strong view of the power of the community college to provide a level of wrap around services to all of our students. Our students will be provided the access they have always had,” she said.

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