El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Della Elliott


Entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Verbeck, whose business acumen and decades of giving to East County institutions have ensured his spot in local history, now has an honorary degree from Cuyamaca College to add to his long list of tributes and recognitions.

Defining the new East County Education Alliance, a partnership between the East County high school and college districts, is simple, but the work facing the team is intensive, the governing boards of the two districts saw at a first-ever joint meeting Tuesday.

Dr. Nabil S. Abu-Ghazaleh, president of West Los Angeles College, has been named president of Grossmont College effective July 1.

Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, said Abu-Ghazaleh’s more than a quarter-century in California community college leadership, including the four years he has held the top post at the Culver City campus, made him the solid choice to take the helm of the 18,000-student El Cajon college.

A trio of instructors from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and a senior administrator are recipients of a national award recognizing community college teaching and leadership.

Cuyamaca College economics professor Anthony “Tony” Zambelli has won the Roy L. Erickson Civic Education Award from the California Council for the Social Studies, an annual honor given to educators, community leaders or legislators for promoting civic education in California schools.

Zambelli will receive the award March 7 in Oakland at the council’s annual conference.

Thanks to the delivery of office furniture donated by Jerome’s Furniture, Cuyamaca College’s recently opened Veterans Service office has taken on a fresh new look.

Now, the college’s nearly 400 veterans have a comfortable, welcoming area where they can go to seek help with paperwork or to meet with a counselor to craft an education plan. 

Cuyamaca College’s past presidents are now part of campus history for all to see after Monday’s unveiling of four framed portraits in pencil.

Drs. Wallace F. Cohen (president, July 1, 1977-July 30, 1983); Samuel M. Ciccati (June 20, 1984-July 1, 1993); Sherrill L. Amador (March 1, 1994-June 19, 2001); and Geraldine M. Perri (Jan. 7, 2002-June 30, 2008), were honored for their years of service and contributions to the college at a reception hosted by current President Mark Zacovic.


The names of the awards may be different, but the intent is the same: to honor the passion and dedication of faculty chosen by their peers as the year’s best at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

More than 2,000 graduates will receive a record number of degrees and certificates from Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges in the first week of June, a substantial increase that can be attributed to student success initiatives that are helping students at both East County campuses to achieve their educational goals.