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Dr. Bettye Underhill, Victor Valley Community College Trustee, Passes : Leaves behind a legacy of care for High Desert Students

April 28, 2009 - [ download pdf of this press release ]

photo of Doctor Bettye Underhill

Dr. Bettye Underhill, longtime trustee for the Victor Valley Community College District, passed away last evening after a brief illness.

Dr. Underhill served on the Board of Trustees for 15 years and held the longest tenure among current governing board members.   She served as Vice President of the College Board in 1998 and has held numerous leadership positions as trustees both on the board and within state organizations.

“We are truly saddened by the loss of a valued member of the college family.  Bettye was a great leader for the college and a role model for women in the High Desert.” said Joe Range, President of the Victor Valley Community College Board of Trustees.

During her time on the Board, the college expanded its ability to serve community growth, from 6,500 students to its current enrollment of 13,500 per semester.  She was a strong advocate for Measure JJ to set the stage for future growth and oversaw the development of many new programs and services to meet student needs during her tenure.

Dr. Underhill was the first female member of the United States Coast Guard before becoming a teacher which launched a deep passion for education.

“Bettye always cared about students,” said Dr. Robert Silverman, Superintendent/President of Victor Valley Community College.  “She attended almost every function held at the college, always had encouraging words for staff, and never missed an opportunity to be engaged one on one with our students.  We all loved her dearly,” Silverman added.

A tribute scholarship has been established to honor her contribution to the college by carrying forward her legacy in education.  Donations can be made to the VVC Foundation / Underhill Memorial Fund.  18422 Bear Valley Road, Victorville, CA 92395.