April 2020
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Celebrating 100 Years!
From the Office of the President
By Dr. Kathleen A. Rose, Superintendent / President
Hello everyone,

Hello Gavilan College community and students. All of us at the college are thinking of you as we each continue to stay home, stay safe and help to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus. As we move into our 4 th week of working/studying/collaborating from home, there is a sense of Déjà vu for Gavilan College.
Our 100 year old history tells us that this is not the first time our college has had to face an epidemic of flu or virus in the communities we serve. In reviewing some of the news articles at the time, as well as a section from the essay “ To Dream on Your Behalf: A History of Gavilan College written by faculty member Leah Halper, I am reminded of just how resilient we all are at Gavilan College, and I now have a deep understanding of why:
"In 1919, the people of the United States, certainly including Gilroy, Hollister, and Morgan Hill, were struggling with two virulent forces: World War I and its aftermath, and the massive global flu epidemic. As the war was finally ending in 1918, another catastrophe struck. The most deadly flu epidemic in human history, a flu that took at least 50 million lives worldwide, proliferated fast and hit hard. It came in waves, starting in spring 1918 and spreading due to the mobility and close association of soliders in wartime....The impact locally cannot be exaggerated. Businesses faltered and closed. Hospitals were overwhelmed....The Evening Freelance in Hollister reported by January 1919 that the high school was closed due to the influenza (“School Closed”) and that school officials were trying to start a correspondence course so seniors could graduate on time ... Towns passed flu mask ordinances, and people were arrested for not wearing masks in public ... Ironically, once students came back to school there was severe overcrowding, as funding was based on low numbers of attendees from the year before (“Grammar Schools”). In this sad and frightening environment, officials at the San Benito High School District made a decision, probably sometime in 1918, to quietly join the junior college movement. (Halper, 2018)"
All year we have been celebrating the centennial of Gavilan College, with special events, tributes, lectures and alumni highlights. The deep spirit of history, giving and service was evident at the time of our Centennial Gala, and we are witnessing it again now during this time of crisis. After the College shut down in accordance with state and local ordinances in March, more than 600 sections of college courses were quickly migrated to an online platform and our employees began working from home. Our Emergency Operations Center was activated, and we created a website and social media campaign to keep everyone informed. Postcards were sent to every student, and a video reminded everyone that we continued to be here to serve our students during this challenging time. Our nursing program donated masks and other crucial protective gear to Valley Medical Center to protect healthcare workers .

But more was needed immediately for our students, who suddenly were separated from their college safety net, the faculty and counselors who encouraged and motivated daily, and the campus that had become a second home. The EOC went into action to support online student services, library services, mental health, tutoring and outreach to our students to remind them that we cared. A COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund was established that collected more than $17,000 from the community in just a few days. Added to that was $20,000 from our Educational Foundation and $65,000 from our associated student group. In the first week, more than 800 students applied for aid for basic needs like food, rent, utilities, and bills.

But still more is needed. Many of our students and their families are food insecure and are faced with a digital divide that may impact their ability to succeed. With online delivery continuing through the summer session, we have initiated a computer loan program and have distributed WiFi equipment to students. Just yesterday, in collaboration with our community partners, we distributed food boxes to 300 families. In the weeks ahead, we will continue to do our part.

These are trying, unprecedented and uncertain times. Just as our history has informed us, each day we are developing our resiliency and leadership strengths, and must rethink the past and present, while reimagining the future. We can certainly learn from all of this, just as those who began this college as San Benito Junior College did 100 years ago. As the economy begins again, we know that the community college system in California will have a major part in facilitating economic recovery, we will continue to train critical service providers, and will have the capacity to provide programs that will stimulate industry and community growth.

So in the days and weeks ahead, all of us at Gavilan will continue to lift one another in service to our students and the community, and lean on one another when we need support.
Just as in 1919, Gavilan College will be here when we continue our lives after the pandemic crisis. Our legacy will continue to fuel our mission.
What's new at Gavilan College?

Cosmetology faculty and students demonstrate how they stay in contact with online instruction.


Shaun Smith, Gavilan water resources management student, works at Aromas Water District to keep essential systems flowing.


Gavilan College rises to the current COVID-19 challenge and distributes food to 300 students and families, many of whom have lost income in recent weeks.


Entrepreneurs and small business owners learn fundamentals in free, 10-week class Business Classes in Spanish.

Celebrating 100 years
Check out online resources and events all year in celebration of this milestone in the history of our college and communities.


Report to the Community

Budget information, news, milestones, and historical facts for 2019.