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She Broke Many Barriers In Her Career. Now, She's Helping Break Barriers For Students At COD

Norma Kleinschmidt with Peter Sturgeon, COD Foundation Director of Development

$50,000 For Student Success Initiatives

College of the Desert Foundation is proud to announce the generous donation of $50,000 made by Norma Kleinschmidt to support the YOU CAN Change Lives campaign for student success at COD.

Mrs. Kleinschmidt decided to make a gift following attendance at a campus tour of the College where she learned about the challenges students face. She had a chance to see the facilities and hear more about the annual campaign currently underway to support student success.

The YOU CAN campaign is part of the Foundation’s efforts to increase the likelihood of student success at College of the Desert. The campaign seeks support for three major initiatives at the College:

  • Financial Assistance - 90% of the students applying to COD qualify for financial assistance and need help with tuition, books, child care and transportation;
  • Academic Support - 95% of first time applicants need some form of remediation in math, English and/or writing; and counseling, and;
  • Career Assistance – approximately 80% of all COD students are first in their family to attend college. In today’s economy even the hardest-working degree holders need assistance choosing and preparing for jobs and careers.

Like so many local residents who relocated to the desert following a successful career and retirement, Mrs. Kleinschmidt understands and appreciates the challenges in life and career. She was in banking her whole life, starting as the first female teller for Wells Fargo Bank and rising through the ranks to become the first female Vice President. The gift was made in the name of Raymond D. Edwards and Norma D. Edwards in honor of her late husband.

“I understand how difficult it can be to overcome obstacles, how important it is have the latest and greatest facilities and support available, and the ability of higher education to change lives,” Mrs. Kleinschmidt stated.

“College of the Desert is an incredible resource in our community,” Mrs. Kleinschmidt said. “I want to help provide the support needed for the next generation to have a chance at success in both career and in life.”




The COD Foundation was established in 1983 by a group of visionary business and community leaders as a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of higher education in the Coachella Valley by encouraging private and public support for College of the Desert. Over the last 30 years, College of the Desert Foundation has raised over $63 million to support students and programs at the College. For more information, call (760) 773-2561 or go to