Grossmont’s 50th Anniversary fundraiser ‘fantabulous’

David Hurst

The Health and Sciences complex was a glittering venue for the 50 and Fantabulous fundraiser (Photo: Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine)

David Hurst
David Hurst

GROSSMONT COLLEGE— This year marks the 50-year anniversary of Grossmont College and no one brings in a semi-centennial like the Grossmont Griffins.

Grossmont College held a fundraising event last Saturday evening at the Health and Sciences complex. The lavish affair featured a magnificent spread of food, desserts, and drinks catered by Continental Catering Company. A live band greeted people at the entrance with songs of yesteryear. Attendants included a mixture of current students, current faculty, community member, and employees. Recent alumni, alumni from the original Grossmont College student body, and all Alumni in between could be spotted Saturday at the event sponsored by the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges.

While the people of Grossmont proved they know how to throw and attend the party, perspective was not lost on this wonderful event. The estimated attendance was 400 and all had intentions of raising money for the students. Among the many high ranking college officials in attendance was Grossmont President Sunny Cooke, whose husband was coincidentally celebrating his own 5oth birthday the same evening.

“The theme for the year and especially this event is 50 and fantabulous. Fantabulous is a word that means more than wonderful. We are going to sprinkle the word in throughout the night and focus on fundraising for the students this year.” A silent and live auction was held to raise money for Grossmont College student scholarships and educational program support. The recently formed Dreamkeepers Fund, providing emergency grants for students who find themselves in financial need that could keep them from finishing a semester, was also a beneficiary of Saturday’s proceeds.

During the auctions, the rapid fire-spitting auctioneer offered extravagant gifts including vacation packages and jewelry to a raucous crowd anxious to give to a worthy cause. All the proceeds went towards the fundraising efforts. Some of the items went for upwards of $2000.

Mary Eden from the counseling department sold raffle tickets to party goers with all the proceeds going towards the fundraising efforts. People who purchased tickets were given a chance to win prizes such as wine tasting vouchers, Poinsettia Bowl tickets, with the big gift being a 42” TV won by, can you believe it, your humble author, me!

Attendants were encouraged to wear clothing that they wore during their Grossmont days. “I’ve seen an Afro and all kinds of outfits. People have been pretty good about wearing what kind of outfits they wore in college,” said President Cooke. Ron Oliver was the Grossmont student body president in 1966 and ’67 and wore a tie dyed shirt just like in his college days. “I’m the guy that flew the helicopter around campus and parked it right in the middle of the quad,” he fondly reminisced.

Oliver’s wife had never been to Grossmont’s campus and he joked about how half of the buildings on campus now weren’t there when he started out as a student in 1965. “The parking lots weren’t even paved, it was just dirt. We had a huge rainstorm, my VW bug got stuck in the mud and I couldn’t get home that night,” laughed Oliver. He continued by saying, “This campus is the most incredible place, it was fun. It still has the feel that it has in 1965. It was a life changing experience for me.”

ASGC president Cheryl Ann Phillips was present with several members of the student council. She noted the fundraising was the most important part of the event and that the student council was there to show support. “You have to support everything your school does.” She also noted that it was nice to have the Grossmont centered festivities on campus. “I really like the fact that it is Grossmont based.”

The appropriately named Rick Griffin from the Grossmont Office of College and Community relations, said the event went “smooth.” There was a difficult task involved in getting the crowd to move from the lower level of the Health and Sciences complex, where they enjoyed the fine cuisine, purchased raffle tickets, and exchanged pleasantries, to move to the upper level of the complex when it came time for the auction and raffle give away. So how does herding 400 people from downstairs to upstairs become an event in self? With an impromptu Flash Mob that’s how. The Flash Mob broke out on the landing and field that is between the first and second levels of the complex and kept the crowd buzzing.

At the end of the night the crowd was treated to coffee, desserts, and the fine gospel tunes of Ken Anderson who teaches Gospel Choir, Jazz, and Private voice at Grossmont. He noted that his choir will be performing at the famed Carnegie Hall in Mid November.

A Carnegie Hall quality night cap, a flash mob, a raffle, an auction, a live band, food and drinks, campus leaders, and fundraising helped to make the Grossmont 50th anniversary a wonderful event. Actually it was more than wonderful, it was fantabulous.

Hurst is managing editor of the GC Summit. He may be contacted at [email protected]