The Palomar College Community Showcase gathered campus and community leaders from across North County to “A Salute to Those Who Serve” at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. With over 400 attendees, hosted by the Palomar College Foundation, the event paid tribute to active-duty military members and veterans. Among the highlights were the tailored programs and services offered at Palomar College, specifically crafted to support military-affiliated students.

Superintendent/President Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey presented her Report to the Community, highlighting the past year and future initiatives that will impact generations of students to come. Palomar College celebrates three consecutive terms of enrollment growth across its 2,500 square mile district. Within this community, where 65% of students identify as ethnically diverse and 45% are first-generation college attendees, Palomar College is committed to providing accessible education for all.

Palomar College’s impact on the community cannot be overstated, with a staggering $1 billion contribution to the region. This is equivalent to the college hosting 156 World Series!


2023 Milestones

Many milestones were shared, including the completion of Palomar College’s Vision 2035 Plan. Outlining the trajectory for new educational programs and facilities over the next 12 years, the plan aims to ensure that Palomar College remains at the forefront of innovation and excellence in education.

Exciting facility developments are on the horizon, as construction begins on a 40,000 square foot building at the Fallbrook Education Center this summer. Construction of the football and softball stadiums at the San Marcos campus nears the finish line, with both stadiums already 80% complete and set to open later this year.


New Educational Offerings

In addition to these developments, Palomar College is advancing its educational offerings. The school has submitted its first application to confer bachelor’s degrees, with the proposed program focusing on “Science and Sustainability in the Built Environment” and aiming to ensure compliance with federal environmental standards.

The college has been chosen to develop the curriculum for a new workforce development initiative in collaboration with the North County Transit District (NCTD). This program, supported by a $29.3 million federal grant for NCTD’s “Low or No Emission Vehicle Program,” will train individuals for the emerging low to zero emissions transportation industry.


Supporting Military-Affiliated Students

Programs supporting current and former military-affiliated students were highlighted in a video featuring testimonials from military members and veterans. One such program is the Military Leadership Program, an initiative that recognizes the skills acquired by military personnel during their service. By completing Sergeants School, military members can earn a Certificate in Military Leadership, which has already been awarded to over 400 Marines in the three years since its inception.

Additionally, the Veteran Resource Center serves as a crucial hub, serving 3000+ veterans annually. Beyond offering essential resources such as emergency grants and work-study opportunities, the center fosters a sense of community for military students, providing a supportive environment reminiscent of the camaraderie found within their units.


Palomar Thanks the Community

All of this and more has been possible thanks to faithful supporters and collaborations within the community. Dr. Rivera-Lacey was especially thankful for the North County Higher Education Alliance (NCHEA3) – a collaborative effort between California State University San Marcos, MiraCosta College, and Palomar College. So much of the progress made at the three North County institutions can be traced back to their commitment to cooperation, promoting advancement among them all.



Caitlyn Canby loves to discover and share people’s stories. She has her bachelor’s degree in Communications, Print Journalism with over 8 years of journalism experience. An Escondido native, she just moved back from Catalina Island to North County with her husband and two children to the town of Fallbrook. Caitlyn enjoys collaborating on projects as Communications Manager at SDNEDC, traveling, and exploring new restaurants, venues, experiences, and cultures.




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