Our Membership and History

Current WACC Committee Membership

Susan Berry, WACC Committee Chair
Student Engagement Coord

James Foran,
Culinary Arts Instr/Coord

Marsha Gable
Vice Pres, Student Services

Cheryl Hinton,
Asst Prof Anthropology & American Indian Studies

Anita MartinezBusiness Office Technology Instr

Bill McGreevy,
Interim VP Administrative Servs

Genie Montoya,
Business Communication Services Supervisor

Pat Palma,
World Languages Clerical Asst.

Lorena Ruggero,
Dir College & Community Relations

Leobardo Rubio,
ASGC President

Karl Sherlock,
Prof. English / Creative Writing Prog. Co-Coord

Sosha Thomas,
Business Office Tech Instr




The original charter of Grossmont College's first diversity initiative began in 1998 with Biology instructor Michael L. Golden, who organized a small committee dedicated to celebrating diversity during a campus climate, not only noticeably lacking in it, but at times resistant and critical of it. In fact, accused of being "wacko" for his advocacy of change and diversity, Golden adopted the acronym "W.A.C.O." (World Arts and Culture Organizing Committee) as a reminder of the committee's inspiration.


Former President Dr. Ted Martinez, along with then Vice President of Student Services, Peter White, strongly supported the idea of a diversity committee. Golden later approached like-minded colleagues Edda Temoche-Weldele (World Languages) and Carlos Contreras (History), who, along with Articulation Officer Janice Johnson (Counseling), became the charter members of the new diversity committee under Michael Golden's chairmanship. By the end of 2000, Michael Golden passed the torch of leadership to Child Development instructor Sonia Gaiane, and Humanities instructor Gwenyth Mapes soon after joined the WACO team.


Operating on an annual budget of four thousand dollars supplemented by ASGC and the San Diego Foundation, WACO solicited grant proposals from faculty interested in representing the cultural and subcultural voices of their disciplines. WACO's first sponsored event was an educational seminar about the controversial Zapatista Army of National Liberation, an anti-NAFTA, revolutionary socialist group formed in Chiapas, Mexico in 1994. Subsequent events included the Taco Shop Poets, an Afghani speaker for "International Woman's Day," a Japanese Language Festival, "Black Storytellers," a bi-national film festival, Agustn Lira and Chicano musical group Alma (honoring Cesar Chavez), traditional Irish folk musicians, local Mexican ballad group Los Alacranes, and many others. Annual celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo and Black History Month eventually became projects important enough for the committee to merit repeat sponsorship. However, it's the cultural dance group "what's a revolution with dancing?" that dominated WACO's event rosters in those early years: Afro-Cuban dancers, Russian ballet dancers, tango and flamenco dancers, traditional Native American dancers, and many others!


Since its charter formation in 1998, the World Arts and Cultures Organizing Committee has continued to operate under the direction of the Student Affairs Office. In 2008, led by then Dean of Student Affairs, Agustin Albarran, and chaired by now retired Business Office Manager, Alba Orr, the committee adopted the acronym "WACC" (World Arts and Cultures Committee), refined its goals, and even began branding its identity with a logo showcasing the theme of multiculturalism. The group's purpose was to offer college-wide programs supportive of diversity at Grossmont College, but to do so through a grant request process open to a more universal and inclusive definition of "diversity." In 2011, Sara Varghese, Dean, Student Affairs, assumed the role of committee chair. The reach of the committee has continued to grow as the grant process was refined, a new logo was adopted and committe membership was expanded. 


Through all of these changes, Michael Golden's initial impetus for WACO to advocate diversity, tolerance, and understanding has remained a steadfast compass for the committee's mission. Through WACC's ongoing support of activities that serve learning outcomes in culturally diverse ways, the committee continues today to help hundreds of faculty and student groups promote understanding among and between all campus constituencies, and to bring important guest speakers, presentations, activities and performances to campus.


Today, invitations to sit on the committee are extended at the start of each academic year, open to all faculty and staff. At least one student representative with concurrent service to the ASGC also sits on the committee. Service to the committee lasts for one academic year. Regular meetings are scheduled every first Wednesday of the month. Grant proposals are submitted and reviewed on a rolling basis, until WACC's grant monies are depleted for that academic year.


Unless otherwise arranged in advance and approved by Committee members, the proceedings of WACC are closed-door discussions; however, a public record of all of WACC's minutes and agendas are available for inspection. If you would like to know more, we encourage you to visit "Meeting Minutes" on this website.  Also, our archive of Sponsored Events offers more detailed information about the many cultural activities sponsored by WACC and WACO from 1998 to present.