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President Joel Kinnamon

Antoine (Tony) Clerc came from Paris, France, to the Coachella Valley at the age of 12. Following graduation from high school, he enlisted in the Army to see the world. When his service was over, like so many veterans, he turned to College of the Desert (COD) and found a supportive environment for his transition to civilian life. He discovered his passion for history, politics, and international studies at COD, graduated, and eventually went to Boston University for his Master’s degree in Political Science, specializing in International Relations. Now he teaches political science and history at College of the Desert.


Everywhere you look, College of the Desert is changing lives. Whether students take a few classes, obtain a certificate, or complete the first two years of their college education and transfer on, COD is making a difference in students’ lives and our community every day.


We are dedicated to a student learning environment built upon integrity and academic rigor while embracing diversity. We strive for the highest standards in all of our programs. Here are some of our strengths:


  • COD has been a leader in workforce and economic development in the Coachella Valley and we will continue that tradition. 


  • As evidenced in our Step Up campaign, College of the Desert alumni are integral to the success of our community.  They work in our hospitality industry. They are our nurses and our public safety officers. They teach our young children. They manage local cities and agencies and are our elected officials.  They are our small business entrepreneurs and they work in the newest green energy companies. 


  • College of the Desert has hired 11 new full-time faculty members who began teaching this fall. This action demonstrates not only the rebound of the state’s economy, but our commitment to offering the courses needed by our students to reach their college and career goals.


  • Many of our programs have achieved regional and national acclaim, including our Child Development Center, Alternative Energy, Automotive, Performing Arts, Nursing, and Business & Retail Management.


College of the Desert is in the middle of one of the most exciting periods in its 50-year history since being founded in 1958.  In 2004, local voters approved a bond measure which has resulted in new buildings, updated infrastructure, remodeled buildings and the addition of a permanent building in Indio, a campus in Mecca/Thermal, and plans for a campus in Palm Springs, as well. Everywhere you look you see change on our campus designed to support student learning and success.


In November 2009, the COD Board of Trustees adopted the Sustainability Stewardship Policy. Each building project observes the guidelines developed by the United States Green Building Council. To date, the college has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) awards for a number of buildings and we are confident more awards will follow as projects are completed.


These projects, along with our academic programs and services, are designed to accomplish our primary goal which is to provide our students the highest caliber education that a community college can offer.


The college Board of Trustees and I have formulated a 24-month plan that will guide us along this path. The agenda has five focus points: 1. Student Success, 2. Planning and Governance, 3. Fiscal Stability and Infrastructure, 4. Teamwork and Organizational Development, and 5. Economic, Workforce Development and Community Outreach. The specifics are on our website (click here).


The college is significantly uplifted by the College of the Desert Foundation which embarked on a capital campaign in March of 2014 to raise $3 million for educational programs, scholarships, technology needs, and student services. They not only met their goal, but doubled it! Funding priorities for the campaign originated from the vision and strategic goals of the college.


Please explore our website to learn more about us and what we do. You’ll see that from our faculty to our Foundation, everywhere you look, College of the Desert is changing lives.

Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D.
September 2014