Publish Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:33:00 -0800

People enjoying the Foundation Luncheon

“Thank you for being a friend” is not just a motto made famous by a 1980s sitcom, but a phrase that served as the unofficial theme for the Crafton Hills College Foundation’s Friends Luncheon held on Nov. 30.

Crafton Hall served as the backdrop for the annual event, which mixed personal success stories of current and past CHC students with campus improvement visuals made possible from various funding sources.

The luncheon’s purpose was to introduce, education and inspire guests with facts and an emotional appeal of the nonprofit’s year-round efforts, explained Michelle Riggs, the foundation’s development director, prior to the event.

KVCR/Empire Network personality Lillian Vasquez delivered the event’s keynote address remarking on how a community college in a “little town” called Yucaipa changed the trajectory of her life.

Vasquez said she immersed herself into every theater class available but quickly learned it was difficult to audition for musicals because she couldn’t sing. But she discovered other interests involving the art medium, from writing press releases to script announcements and thrived.

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

She left Crafton to attend a four-year university but found herself back in a community college setting this time at San Bernardino Valley College because she was unable to balance her school work with her coursework and took full responsibility for her actions.

Vasquez said she had plans to become a teacher but found she could make more money as a telephone operator. Soon, 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.”

Last year, the CHC Foundation raised $1 million last year thanks to its many community partners, including San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, said William M. Nassar, president of the nonprofit.

In addition, Nassar announced a new student-based scholarship established in recognition of Betty Jo Wood, a Crafton retiree and longtime foundation board member, calling it a “wonderful tribute” to her work.

To learn more about the foundation, go to