Columbia College adds 35th campus in San Diego


The Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego is the college’s 18th campus on a military installation, and its fifth in California

On January 16, a memorandum of understanding was signed by Brigadier General Angela Salinas, commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Western Recruiting Region San Diego and Dr. Gerald T. Brouder, president of Columbia College, to offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in general studies. Lunch-hour classes for busy Marines, Coast Guard personnel, sailors and their families begin March 26. Columbia College-San Diego will be headed by Diana Schriefer, formerly the college’s Serving the Public Servants Coordinator in San Diego.

James Brooks, the depot’s education service officer and Faye Blas, director of marine & family services, extended the invitation to Columbia College. “The opportunity to direct this campus is a true honor,” said Schriefer. “Mr. Brooks and Ms. Blas have been extremely supportive of Columbia College, and I look forward to working with them in assisting military personnel, their families and civilians achieve their educational goals. Brigadier General Salinas also has been very supportive in encouraging Marines to take the initiative to pursue their education goals. Lastly, thanks to the Marine Corps Community Services, the depot will offer free child care, as long as funding is available, so that the military spouse can attend class.”

The location also presents a wonderful opportunity for the college. San Diego is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the United States. The metropolitan area tops 1.3 million. Its economy has an unusual emphasis on industries requiring higher education: biotechnology and biosciences, computer sciences, electronics manufacturing, defense-related manufacturing, financial and business services, ship repair and construction, software development and telecommunications.

Gary Oedewaldt, assistant dean for Adult Higher Education, said, “San Diego is a natural for Columbia College, and it’s gratifying to see years of effort come to fruition. Diana already has shown enormous initiative in extending education in the San Diego area and in cultivating the relationships that created the opportunity to establish this campus. I know she will make a great director.”

Oedewaldt added that Schriefer will have a broader mission than most military campus directors. Though her offices will be at the depot, she will continue to serve the multiple installations in the San Diego area that she supported in her former role as a Serving the Public Servants Coordinator.

Schriefer, who hails from San Diego, knows first-hand the value of a Columbia College education. She earned a bachelors degree in sociology from the Guantanamo Bay campus, where she also worked as an academic advisor. In August 2008, Schriefer completed a master’s degree in human behavior from National University, La Jolla, just north of San Diego. She also has experience in direct sales, counseling and primary education.

Columbia College currently has California campuses in:

  • Coast Guard Island, Alameda, Calif., serving the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Los Alamitos Calif., serving the south Los Angeles basin
  • San Luis Obispo, Calif., located south of the San Francisco Bay Area and north of Los Angeles
  • Lemoore, Calif., located near Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley.