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Colburn McCaughan takes Don Diego's helm as executive director

DEL MAR – Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Ashley Colburn McCaughan as executive director. She follows inaugural 1986-2022 ED Chana Mannen, who retired June 30.

The board's vote to appoint McCaughan was unanimous, reported DDSF Chair Juanita Hayes. She said, "We are thrilled to welcome a professional of Ashley's high caliber and character as our new ED. Ashley's experience, expertise, and energetic commitment will carry our organization forward as we work toward raising our second million dollars in support of our mission to provide annual college scholarships to deserving, college-bound San Diego County students who have been associated with activities at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, including the San Diego County Fair."

McCaughan is steeped in the fair, the foundation, and in agriculture. Her grandfather was an agriculture teacher at Escondido High School. Both her husband and her father are veterinarians.

Growing up in Fallbrook, McCaughan won a 2005 $5,000 DDSF 4-H scholarship, which helped support her at Colorado State University, where she earned a B.A. in technical journalism with a minor in Spanish. By 2011, she established herself as the award-winning owner/CEO of Ashley Colburn Productions.

Her production work has taken her to 60 countries around the world on her way to winning numerous Emmy and Telly awards, including an Emmy she received in June 2022 for her television show, "Wander Woman: Slovenia." In 2013, her university honored her as "Alumni of the Decade."

Amid her travels, McCaughan served stints as DDSF's marketing coordinator and, more recently, as the fair's marketing coordinator and spokesperson. The skills she gained and productive relationships she established will solidify DDSF's connection to the fair and the wider community.

McCaughan and her husband, Marc McCaughan, DVM, currently reside in Fallbrook. She said "Receiving a DDSF scholarship was transformative; it not only helped support me in college, but also validated my efforts to that point and helped inspire me to continue striving to reach my potential. I feel that I have come full circle. I can now expand our existing programs and create new outreach vehicles that will help propel future DDSF scholar-leaders to pursue their college and career goals."

Chair Hayes concluded, "Ashley's travels have broadened her perspective and enhanced her value to the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation. We look forward to her leadership as we journey together to new successes in the years ahead."

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, aka Tom Hernandez, who served as the fair's welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984. Since its inception in 1986, the foundation has awarded $1,276,844 in scholarships to 362 students and in agriculture education grants.

More information is at and

Submitted by the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation.


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