Debbie & Len Newcomb: Career Education


Student. Professor. Business Development Chair. Student Learning Outcomes Facilitator. Dean of Career Education I.

Debbie Newcomb has served many roles during nearly three decades at Ventura College. This year, she proudly added yet another new title and responsibility: Founder of the Gary Daniel Newcomb Memorial Scholarship.

Named after Debbie’s late son, the scholarship was recently awarded for the very first time, via the Ventura College Foundation.

Flicia Duenas & Oscar Cobian

Debbie and her husband, retired Oxnard Police Officer (and fellow Ventura College graduate) Len Newcomb, had long desired to establish a scholarship in the name of Gary, who passed away at the tender age of 21 back in 2000. Diagnosed as a child with a rare form of muscular dystrophy called spinal muscular atrophy, Gary was only expected to live from five to 10 years. Instead, he thrived on many fronts, blossoming into what Debbie calls “a total, self-taught computer geek” and even attending classes at Ventura College in his wheelchair for a time.

The scholarship is earmarked to benefit Ventura College students on a computer science pathway — with a criminal justice twist.

“We all wanted to do something to memorialize his life,” says Debbie. “He was in a wheelchair his whole life, but we took him everywhere. He was just such a whiz kid on the computer too. Programming. Web design. He even built a site in honor of Wayne Gretzky.”

For Debbie, this next step in her career and life only serves to reaffirm her deep affection for Ventura College.

“I went here,” says Debbie. “My husband went here. Our three children all went here. I started teaching here in the early 1990s. I love it here. This is like home to me.”

Debbie also loves her new role as Dean of Career Education I (Business, Child Development, Allied Health & Nursing).

“I just love working with the students,” says Debbie. “You really feel like you make a difference here. You get to see the students grow and blossom. They care about you too, and want to see you do well. It’s a more personal relationship with the students here than at a lot of the bigger universities. It’s really nice to have that kind of relationship with students, and to see them meet their goals.”