Crafton Hills College Foundation Says “Thank You” at Annual Friends Luncheon

By on December 30, 2018

The recent Crafton Hills College (CHC) Foundation’s annual Friends Luncheon provided an opportunity for the organization to introduce, education and inspire guests with facts and a visual presentation of the nonprofit’s year-round efforts as well as personal success stories of current and past CHC students.

With the unofficial theme of “Thank you for being a friend” made famous by a 1980s sitcom, the luncheon was the backdrop to thank the CHC Foundation’s many community partners for being a part of helping to raise $1 million last year — including San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, according to William M. Nassar, president of the nonprofit.

The keynote address was delivered by KVCR/Empire Network personality Lillian Vasquez who is a former CHC student. She remarked on how a community college in a “little town” called Yucaipa changed the trajectory of her life.

Vasquez said she had plans to become a teacher. But, while at CHC, she immersed herself into every theater class available but reality intervened when she quickly learned it was difficult to audition for musicals because she couldn’t sing. She soon discovered other interests involving the art medium, from writing press releases to script announcements — and she thrived.

“Who knew this little community college would set me up for life?” Vasquez said. “My professors knew.”

Although she left Crafton to attend a four-year institution it was short-lived as she couldn’t balance the demands of everything. She returned to the community college setting though this time at San Bernardino Valley College.

Although she had hoped to become a teacher, she found she could make more money as a telephone operator. Soon thereafter she discovered her true calling on television and radio, she explained.

“Sometimes our journeys take us to detours that lead us down a different road and that’s okay,” she said. “But it’s easy to go to work when you have a job you love. And now with my own radio show, the sky’s the limit.”

In addition to hearing inspirational stories and saying thank you to its many donors during the luncheon, Foundation President Nassar also announced a new student-based scholarship established in recognition of Betty Jo Wood. A Crafton retiree and longtime foundation board member, Nassar said the Wood scholarship will be a “wonderful tribute” to her work.