Comet Award Honoree Mark King

SAN MARCOS (August 27, 2015) –The Palomar College President’s Associates will host its 24th annual gala fundraiser at the world-class OMNI La Costa Resort & Spa on Saturday, September 12.

Drawing on the theme “Inspiration for the Future” the evening brings together a distinguished award for community leader Mark King, live and silent auctions, uplifting messages, student entertainment by the Palomar College Encore dancers, fine dining in an exquisite setting, and the pleasure of dancing to the Mark Lessman Band.

Proceeds from the event provide scholarships, textbook assistance, program support and other resources for Palomar College students.

“Hundreds of students every year are able to stay in school, complete their education, and be successful because of this event,” said Palomar College Foundation Executive Director Richard Talmo. “We encourage the community to join us for an evening that is fun and contributes to the success of our students and our local communities.”


The annual Comet Award, which recognizes leadership and community service by a distinguished citizen, will be presented to long-time North County philanthropist Mark King. King was CEO of Carlsbad-based TaylorMade Golf until his recent promotion to head the parent company, adidas North America. Despite the demanding schedule that went with being CEO of TaylorMade, King invested his time and effort in many North County nonprofit organizations including the Palomar College Foundation, Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club, and Solutions for Change.


The gala is benefitting from strong community interest. One reflection of that is the participation of volunteer co-chairs Juanita Hayes and Jeff Wohler.

Hayes, a San Marcos resident, is the public affairs manager for San Diego Gas and Electric. She brings her professional capabilities, knowledge of the community, and enthusiasm to coordination of an all-volunteer host committee of 74 people.

“Palomar College is an important community asset,” says Hayes, “and the annual gala provides support that maximizes the benefits of that asset for every community in the region.”


Jeff Wohler is Chief Operating Officer of War Horse, an organization that uses horses to facilitate organizational team building and individual learning. Wohler holds degrees in law and finance, and his expertise in both areas as well as his C-suite leadership skills are helping to shape this year’s Palomar College gala.

“The gala is an opportunity for the community to give every student the opportunity she or he deserves,” says Wohler. “The proceeds fund scholarships, textbook assistance, and other programs that help students succeed.”


Capitalizing on the picturesque coastal ambience, the evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a hosted reception while guests peruse the silent auction. In addition to the Comet Award and student entertainment, the program will include an inspirational message from John Paul De Joria, founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patrón Spirits Company.


Seats for this event are $300 each. Tables of 10, which include preferential seating and sponsorship recognition, are $3000 each.

Gala reservations, information and and sponsorship opportunities are available at or by calling 760-744-1150 ext. 2735.




Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office, 760-744-1150, ext. 2365,
Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs Office, 760_744-1150, ext. 2152,
Debbie King, Palomar College Foundation, 760-744-1150, ext. 2735,