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Founder's Message


Founder - William C. Tumelty

William C. Tumelty grew up in New Jersey and studied in Washington, D.C prior to serving four years in the United States Air Force while stationed in South Dakota. He completed his MBA in Denver, Colorado and enjoyed a fulling career as a Commercial Banker.  He continued his career when he moved to California in 1999 and retired and made Palm Springs his home in 2011.

William has enriched his life volunteering with nonprofit organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Colorado AIDS Buddy when AIDS patients were ostracized, serving holiday meals for organizations like Well in the Desert, and volunteering for fundraising events. He also served as a Board of Director for multiple nonprofits.

Tumelty says “I don’t have any offspring nor significant other, so I felt I wanted to leave some sort of legacy and chose a scholarship venue”. When asked why a scholarship Tumelty says “ I love education and feel it helps us attain our goals and broaden our perceptions of the world, making us better people through understanding ourselves and others”.

Team members - Lucio Bernal & Jon M. Smith

Lucio A. Bernal and Jon M. Smith had been looking for a “purpose” outside their normal work as a real estate team in Palm Springs. They had many options but stumbled on one by mere fate.  “One day we received a call from our friend William saying that he was giving a scholarship and was asked to give a speech.


Both Jon and I mentioned to him that he could practice his speech with us and that we would be delighted to attend in support” states Lucio.

Several weeks later both Lucio and Jon attended the event and walked away with a longing to give a helping hand to William. Jon says “The night was so emotional. To see the gratitude and hear the emotional stories of the recipients that night was both heart wrenching and inspiring!”.

Lucio and Jon both feel the same about William: a humble, caring, and sincere person who finds good in others.


"I want to be a teachers assistant for special education.  I really enjoy working with special needs kids and adults.  I love bringing joy to their days.  I like helping kids learn in different ways because I needed to be taught in different ways as well.  Thank you again"


“As a queer woman at College of the Desert I feel very supported at school. My professors are very conscious of different gender and sexual identities. The use of preferred pronouns and preferred names is a welcome practice which is a testament to College of the Desert's commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

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