City College alumna-turned-student government advisor finds calling on campus

Lori Oldham’s experience helps make campus ‘a supportive place’ for students


Student Affairs Coordinator and ASG Advisor Lori Oldham stands in the M building at San Diego City College. Photo by Daniel Lasker/City Times Media

Daniel Lasker, Multimedia Journalist

When a lucrative 13-year career in mortgage banking ended due to a shifting economy, and with opportunities to move to Texas or Louisiana, Lori Oldham found herself at a crossroads. 

“I just couldn’t see myself leaving San Diego because my family was here,” Oldham said. 

Oldham instead crashed classes at San Diego City College in spring 1997.

Oldham had never attended college before, but she called on her experience in the banking industry to give her confidence. 

“Work was all I knew and I knew hard work would pay off for me,” Oldham said.

That work has paid off, benefitting not only Oldham but City College, where she is now the Student Affairs Coordinator and adviser to student government, known at City as ASG.

Student Affairs Coordinator and ASG Advisor Lori Oldham meets with newly elected City College student ASG members in the College President’s Conference Room, May 11, 2023. Photo by Daniel Lasker/City Times Media


When considering how Oldham influenced her time while enrolled at City, outgoing ASG Interclub Council President Kaitlyn Moore couldn’t think of just one way.

“What was outstanding was the opportunities she gave me,” Moore said. “I grew tremendously from (them).”

Moore’s list ranged from Oldham encouraging her to have faith in the process to staying strong when facing adversity. 

“It has been an amazing experience working with her,” Moore said. “For all the interactions I’ve had with her, I can tell she loves her students as much as we all love her.”

As a student herself, Oldham, then 37, admitted she was afraid.

“I thought college was only for those folks that are graduating from high school,” said Oldham, who before enrollment at City College worked at her family business. “I was really scared.”

But Oldham said she was able to feel like she fit in because of the diverse population of students around her, many of whom shared similar circumstances to her.

“After two weeks, I felt like I had been doing this (longer),” she said. “I felt so welcomed by City College and my professors. I had this sense of confidence just from the way people treated me.”

Oldham completed an associate’s degree from City College in 1999. She then completed a bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in vocational education from Union Institute and University in 2001.

She earned a Master’s in Educational/Instruction Technology in 2003 from National University.

Over her 25-year career at City, Oldham has held various positions in what she calls her second career – although she sees it as more than that.  

“It’s such a very supportive place,” Oldham said. “I don’t go to work every day, I go to my calling every day. This is a calling, not work.”