Grossmont College President Denise Whisenhunt named a top 50 Black leader in San Diego County
February 27, 2023 at 5:32 PM
Grossmont College President Denise Whisenhunt
EL CAJON – Grossmont College President Denise Whisenhunt is among this year’s “Top 50 Black Leaders of Influence,” as selected by the San Diego Business Journal and the County of San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce. The awards recognize Black industry leaders across the region, including in the fields of education, media and business. Whisenhunt will be honored at an awards ceremony on Feb. 28 at the University Club in Downtown San Diego.
President Whisenhunt is an innovative and equity-minded leader with more than 22 years of leadership experience in higher education. As chief executive officer of Grossmont College since 2021, President Whisenhunt oversees all operations and strategic initiatives of the flagship college of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
“I am honored to be selected among the top 50 Black Leaders of Influence by the San Diego Business Journal and the County of San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce,” she said. “The work these leaders are doing inspires me in my work as president of Grossmont College, and the work our college is doing to serve all our students through equity and excellence. I look forward to their continued partnership in advancing the opportunities in our region.”
Whisenhunt has led Grossmont College’s response team of equity-minded leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic, including efforts from college leadership to build back enrollment and bring back in-person operations. Whisenhunt leads teams and initiatives to support students heavily impacted by the pandemic, reengaging students and the community with Grossmont College, and overseeing a transformation of innovative class offerings.
“President Whisenhunt’s collaborative leadership and equity-minded approach to student access and success has contributed greatly to our efforts to build back enrollment and reengage our communities,” said Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Dr. Lynn Ceresino Neault. “Our region continues to benefit from her leadership.”
As president of Grossmont College, Whisenhunt is a collaborative leader who works with faculty, classified professionals, administrators, and students to serve San Diego’s East County. She puts students first when making decisions and has dedicated much of her professional career to serving underserved and underprepared populations, with a focus on increasing access and opportunities through equity-based practices.
Whisenhunt holds a B.A. in political science from the University of California, San Diego, and a J.D. from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. She is actively involved in local leadership, including serving on the board of the UC San Diego Alumni Association. Her community involvement has included serving on the board of directors of the Monarch School, a transformational K-12 school designed to educate homeless youth, as well as the board of directors for Catholic Charities.
Prior to her current role, Whisenhunt worked for the San Diego Community College District. She served as vice president of student services at San Diego City College, interim president of San Diego City College and interim vice president of student services at San Diego Mesa College.
The district’s two colleges, Grossmont College in El Cajon and Cuyamaca College in
Rancho San Diego, together serve about 24,000 students each year. For information
about the college district, go to www.gcccd.edu.
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