Photo of Allene Zanger
  • WHEN: Friday, May 23, 2014; 6 p.m. – 8 p.m
  • WHERE: Bud and Jean Ottmar Memorial Gymnasium, Gavilan College Gilroy campus, 5055 Santa Teresa, Blvd, Gilroy, CA 95020
  • Admission is limited to ticket-holders.

Gavilan College is preparing to celebrate the achievements of a large group of degree and certificate-earners next Friday evening. The college will be conferring 330 Associate in Art degrees, 161 Associate in Science degrees, 387 Certificates of Achievement, 22 Certificates of Proficiency, and 7 Awards of Achievement.


Allene Zanger is the Executive Director of the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council – a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that more than 140,000 acres of watershed lands located across the State of California are conserved. The Stewardship Council also invests in programs that connect underserved youth to the outdoors. Prior to joining the Council, Zanger served as regional director for the Inter-America and Pacific Region of the Peace Corps, overseeing Peace Corps’ operations at 23 posts to support more than 2,300 volunteers serving in the 29 countries. Zanger was herself a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in Panama from 1993 to 1995 in the field of environmental education. From 1996 to July 2002, Zanger served as director of School-Community Partnerships in the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office in Bakersfield, California. She also founded and served as program director for the Central Valley Communities for Children AmeriCorps Program, which has provided tutoring and mentoring services to thousands of children from low-income families. Zanger spent several years in the Office of the California Attorney General as a deputy attorney general where she represented public agencies responsible for protection of the state’s natural resources. She also carried out the duties of vice president of public affairs and general counsel for the Tejon Ranch Company, a publicly held corporation headquartered in California which owns nearly 270,000 acres of farm and ranch lands in Kern and Los Angeles counties. She has been a board member and volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of Bakersfield and other youth-serving organizations. Zanger earned a Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Pacific in 1977, California. She is a native Californian who was raised on a family farm outside of Hollister, California. 

Gilroy’s 2010 Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year,” Kurt Michielssen, will be awarded an honorary degree for his unwavering support of Gavilan College, education and the community. Kurt Michielssen attended Cabrillo Community College in Aptos: but has been actively involved in Gavilan College/Gilroy community activities since 1983 when he became a member of the Rotary Club in Gilroy.  Michielssen was the club’s president during Rotary International’s Centennial of 2004/2005.  As Rotarian, Michielssen has participated in the club’s Annual Flower Sale and Wine Pavilion at the Gilroy Garlic Festival and other fund raising activities.   In 2000 Michielssen joined the Board of Directors for the Gavilan College Educational Foundation (GCEF) was elected president of the organization in 2002.  He concurrently joined the Gilroy Foundation where he served as director from 2002 to 2009 and again in 2012.  He has been a member of the Gilroy Foundation’s Scholarship Committee since its beginning in 2009.  In 2008, Michielssen became the director of the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) to which he was elected president in 2009.  As a banker, Michielssen has assisted in providing millions of dollars in loans to individuals and businesses in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister since 1979.