Tragic loss of Tom Spillman

July 10, 2017

A note from Superintendent/President Dr. Roger Schultz:

Dear MSJC Family,

Tom SpillmanWe have all had Dean Tom Spillman on our hearts and minds over the course of these past three weeks.  We are deeply saddened to announce that Dean Tom Spillman passed away on Saturday night—July 8, 2017.  Many of you know that Tom fought a courageous battle against a very aggressive cancer that was diagnosed only three weeks past.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out on behalf of all of the Spillman family during this very difficult time.  Tom gave his all to Mt. San Jacinto College, its students, faculty, staff, and many of the surrounding high school districts in which we partner.  As you know—Tom loved the college and his college family. He had many hobbies and activities including basketball, jujitsu (especially with his sons—Tommy and Trent), and Civil War history.

Tom joined the MSJC team first as a counselor in 2001, but his passion for serving students, combined with his innovation, tireless drive and quality work quickly propelled him into numerous leadership roles in the Student Services division. He became Director of EOPS in 2003. By 2007, he was Dean of Counseling.  Over the course of his MSJC career, Tom wrote and directed numerous grant efforts at the college, including a Bill and Melinda Gates Grant, as well as a federal Title 5 grant. As a Dean, Tom oversaw counseling, outreach and matriculation efforts for the entire district. Tom is perhaps best known locally, regionally, state-wide and even nationally as an innovator and driving force for MSJC’s Dual Enrollment Program that is involved with every one of the college’s local k-12 districts. The Dual Enrollment Program has impacted thousands of high school students with their ability to earn college credit while still in high school and saving families millions of dollars in tuition at the four-year schools. At the invitation of others, Tom traveled throughout the state with educational partner districts to present on the topic. On two occasions, he and a team from the region traveled to Washington D.C. to be a part of the national dialogue on the effort locally. Tom even served on a national board regarding dual enrollment programs. When the vice president of student services was not available Tom frequently served as the acting vice president of student services.

Tom hails from a proud line of family members who served this country and attended MSJC. Alvin Lee Spillman, Tom's father, graduated from MSJC and served in the U.S. Air Force before he worked in civil service. Tom's brother Christopher Spillman is an MSJC alumni and a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army. Tom and his brother Andrew also fulfilled military service with the Navy and attended MSJC. Andrew is in law enforcement with the Riverside Police Department.

We understand that this tragic loss comes as a shock to everyone in the MSJC family.  For this reason the College has secured the grief counseling services of Ms. Ammie Jean Foreman-Shaw.  Ms. Shaw is a licensed counselor with 25 years of professional experience including a practice in Menifee.  She is available to talk to anyone who may need her as a resource during this difficult time.  If you feel you would like to talk with Ms. Shaw please coordinate through Ms. Angela Mange at 951-639-5202 or at  Ms. Shaw will be on the MVC campus from 9:00 a.m. until Noon for individual sessions returning from 5:00—7:00 p.m. for group or individual sessions according to need.  She will be available to the college family on this schedule Monday through Wednesday of this week.  Ms. Shaw will be located in Modular 1015 (DSPS Testing Area). We will announce any funeral and/or memorial arrangements in coordination with the wishes of the Spillman family as they become available. 

Dr. Roger Schultz
Mt. San Jacinto College