President's BreakfastSkyline College hosted the 15th Annual President’s Breakfast on Thursday, March 19 at the South San Francisco Convention Center, drawing a crowd of over 400 people for an early morning breakfast fundraiser. Attendees gathered from all across northern San Mateo County, including representatives from national, state and local government; the San Mateo Community College Board of Trustees; our sister colleges and fellow educators; and the local business community.

The President’s Breakfast is the primary fundraiser for the President’s Innovation Fund (PIF) which enables Skyline College to provide programs that expand students’ world view, ultimately making them more informed, engaged and responsible members of our community. Over the last 15 years, the PIF has made possible more than $308,000 in grants supporting 133 programs. Donations to the fund have enabled Skyline College faculty and staff to develop many of the dynamic programs and services that continue to benefit students and our community today.

After a live student performance of selections from Skyline College’s spring musical Grease, Skyline College President Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud took the podium to announce the President’s Innovation Fund Grant recipients for 2014-15. Speaking of the winners, past and present, Dr. Stroud stated, “The inspiration of the Skyline College faculty and staff to dream out loud and develop innovative programs that support student success never ceases to amaze me. Your dreams have become part of this institution.”

This year’s guest speaker, Skyline College alumnus and President’s Council member Damien Guzman, spoke about his own journey from struggling high school student to successful corporate attorney in Silicon Valley, and how his story of struggle, and overcoming his obstacles, was not a unique one.

“For some of us, education is not a straight line through which one progresses from grade school to grad school, perhaps on a path cleared by family tradition or financial support. Rather, for some of us, the path is full of obstacles and pitfalls where one wrong step often results in significant setbacks,” Guzman said. “This is where the President’s Innovation Fund truly shines.”

Guzman concluded by stating, “The programs made possible by the President’s Innovation Fund are immensely helpful. They work because they allow Skyline College to put into practice new ideas to engage students in the process of learning, enabling students to apply their newfound knowledge to the real world.”

Guzman’s remarks were followed by a video created by Bryan Kingston that featured interviews with students who had been affected by a PIF-funded program—specifically ASTEP, CIPHER, Hermanos, Kababayan and the Honors Transfer Program but with stories common to many other programs in the history of the PIF. The students each described how one of these programs had transformed their college experience, and changed their lives, demonstrating the clear effectiveness of programs started through the President’s Innovation Fund.

The event concluded with moving remarks from SMCCD Vice Chancellor of Auxiliary Services and Enterprise Operations Tom Bauer, who through a deeply personal story of love and loss, stressed how a single action, at the right time and at the right place, can have a lasting and profound impact on an individual. The contributions made at the President’s Breakfast touch lives on a personal level, helping to transform educational experiences and create pathways to success for individual Skyline College students.

This year’s Breakfast successfully continued that mission.

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick| Photos by Raul Guerra