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Ripon grad recognized by University of San Diego
Debra Sinarle Honeycutt
Debra Sinarle Honeycutt is a member of Ripon High’s Class of 1989. - photo by Photo Contributed

The University of San Diego recently sang its praises for a longtime administrator from Ripon — Debbie Sinarle Honeycutt, 68, from the Ripon High class of 1969 — who grew up on East Milgeo Avenue facing Spring Creek Golf & Country Club. 

“My parents, Helen and Harry Sinarle, were so supportive of me when I was in college, and when you have been given something like that you want to pass it on,” she said. 

She is the secret force behind many of the grants the University of San Diego has been awarded since 2013 when she became an assistant director in USD’s Office of Foundation Relations, a staff spokesman said.

At Ripon High, she was the student activities director and sang acapella with the Indianettes singing chorus.  After graduating, she attended Fresno State College and earned a bachelor’s degree.

Prior to dedicating her life to raising money for admirable organizations,  she worked in service, sales, marketing administration and management for IBM — initially for St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center and then for the Neurosciences Institute and on to the University of San Diego where she has helped garner thousands of dollars from private foundations in support of USD to support their Torero Renaissance Scholars, its Veterans Center, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences along with the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science. 

Honeycutt noted that one grant for the School of Nursing was used to purchase six “smart” gurneys for the simulation lab and is a great example of how philanthropy can involve the community.

“The work our School of Nursing does fills a huge void in nursing education,” she said, “because it supplies nursing educators and the advance practice nurses who teach and train frontline nurses.” 

A USD spokesman pointed out that many of the proposals for funding that Honeycutt submits require extensive research and intricate statistics that can take months to produce and to calculate.

She is seen at the university’s main researcher, managing and tracking much like a traffic controller the status of each request the university has pending with some of the region’s largest foundations and was credited for shepherding between some 10 and 12 proposals at any given time through various phases of the process. 

In any given year, she has submitted close to 100 proposals on behalf of the university and it is not uncommon for her to dedicate up to 12 months to the proposing, researching, submitting and gaining funding for a grant.

She recalled that one of the most rewarding grants she worked to its fruition to bring funding to San Diego students was on ongoing grant from the In-N-Out Burger Foundation in support of summer internships for USD’s Torero Renaissance scholars — students formerly in the foster care system.

Honeycutt added that she greatly appreciates the USD approach to education in its holistic approach that enriches many areas of a person’s life.  Like at Ripon High, she has been a longtime member of a local singing group — the RB Chorale — which over the years has itself awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships to talented high school grads throughout San Diego County.

“I see the need,” she said. “I was the first in my family to go on to college.  I came from a very small town of Ripon and college opened my eyes to the world.  I think of college as more than an education, it’s an experience and it’s an experience that every student deserves to have in the life.”

To contact Glenn Kahl, email