Settling In

Denise Whisenhunt begins her role as Grossmont’s new president.


Denise Whisenhunt has been settling into her new role as Grossmont College’s president.

The former San Diego City College Vice President of Student Affairs, Whisenhunt began her new role on July 1. She has 20 years of administrative and leadership experience in the community college system.

In her first semester at Grossmont, Whisenhunt has been concentrating on getting to know the institution and its people.

“I have outlined three focus areas: Care, connection and collective impact,” Whisenhunt said. “All three of these areas focus on recognizing the unique opportunities we are faced with and the strength of our community.” 

Whisenhunt said she has been working with various resources to support students and staff, including their mental and physical health. She also said she has been working with the ASGC President Aundrea Kaiser and Grossmont Student Trustee Benjamin Blevins to build relationships on the campus.

Since she has been at Grossmont, Whisenhunt has also taken time to talk and visit with students. “Students are the core of the college,” she said.

Whisenhunt said she works together with staff to support students in returning to campus, because this campus has a history of working together with good results.

Since most classes are currently online, Whisenhunt talked about Zoom being a good way to connect with students and staff. “Wanting to meet and connect with more students is a priority to me, to learn what matters to them,” she added.

Whisenhunt holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCSD and doctorate in law from the Catholic University of America. She is actively involved in local leadership and has been a participant of the prestigious Aspen fellowship program. Her community involvement includes serving on the board of directors of the Monarch School, a transformational K-12 school designed to educate homeless youth, as well as the Catholic Charities Board of Directors and the UCSD Alumni Association Board. 

Whisenhunt was chosen as Grossmont’s president after Dr. Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh retired from the position in December 2020.