(Orange)—Juan Vázquez, president of Santiago Canyon College (SCC) since 2002, has announced that he plans to retire as of August 15, 2014.
“President Vázquez has been an excellent leader for Santiago Canyon College during some difficult years for community colleges in California,” said Raúl Rodríguez, Ph.D., chancellor of Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD). “Despite budget cuts that drastically impacted our colleges beginning in 2007, Juan kept SCC moving forward. Under his leadership SCC has become a comprehensive community college with significant growth in enrollment.”
During his 12-year tenure as president of SCC, campus instructional facilities expanded thanks to the passage of Measure E, a $337 million general obligation bond. Since 2002, the following new instructional facilities were built on the SCC campus: a 97,500-square-foot Humanities Building, a 72,200-square-foot Athletics and Aquatics Complex, a 60,000-square-foot Science Center, a 40,000-square-foot Library/Learning Resource Center, and a 30,000-square-foot Student Services and Instruction Building. In addition, the college and community benefited with the construction of the 92,500-square-foot Orange Education Center, new soccer fields and softball complex. Measure E also made the following infrastructure improvements possible: the building of a Maintenance and Operations Building, a loop road, new parking lots and lighting, improved landscaping, plus the acquisition of land to complete the college’s master plan.
Since 2002, SCC has received recognition on the national, regional and local level. In 2005, Community College Week ranked SCC as second of the fastest growing community colleges nationwide with an enrollment of 10,000 or more. In 2009, the college came in as number four in the Community College Week ranking of fastest growing community colleges with an enrollment of 10,000 or more. Today the college has an enrollment each semester of nearly 14,000 students in its credit and non-credit programs.
Also notable during Vázquez’s tenure was the Orange County Department of Education’s selection of an SCC faculty member, four times in eight years, as Orange County’s top community college teacher. In 2005, philosophy professor Marcelo Pimentel was chosen; in 2009, psychology professor Dr. Cari Cannon; in 2011, English professor Maureen Roe; and in 2014, economics professor Dr. Alex Taber.
Since 2002, academic programs and student services have grown exponentially at the college. Many of these programs were boosted thanks to federal grants. In recent years, the college was awarded a series of grants supporting student achievement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). These grants include a $3.23 million five-year Title V STEM grant; the five-year “Strengthening Transfer Education and Matriculation in STEM” with California State University, Fullerton; and a $1.25 million five-year grant for the Upward Bound Math and Science Program, a partnership with local high schools. The collective impact of these grants has led to the doubling in the number of students who have declared STEM majors. Today, more than 1,700 SCC students are preparing for STEM careers.
The college has also received high marks in a number of other areas. These include: a championship-winning women’s soccer team with state and national championships in 2009, an award-winning forensics team, a Model United Nations Program, and a softball team that reached Super Regionals in 2013.
With 39 years of service in the California community college system, Vázquez began as an English instructor at College of Alameda in Alameda, Calif., in 1975. Subsequently, he was named director of learning assistance and basic skills in 1977, a post he held until 1983. Promoted to dean of instruction for the business and transportation division and coordinator of vocational education programs, he served in these capacities until becoming vice president of instruction in 1995, a position he held until 2001. In 2001, he was appointed interim president at College of Alameda.
Prior to joining College of Alameda, he was a lecturer at California State University, Fullerton (1973-75) and a counselor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. From 1967-69 he was a VISTA volunteer teaching English as a Second Language to Spanish-speaking Mexican immigrants.
Vázquez holds a Master of Science degree with a reading specialty from California State University, Fullerton. His bachelor’s degree is in philosophy from City University of New York.
He is actively involved with a number of business and community organizations, including Leadership Orange and St. Joseph’s Hospital Leadership Council. Vázquez serves on the board of directors for the Community Foundation of Orange and the Orange County Coastkeeper. He is a past board member of the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers and the Orange Chamber of Commerce.
“It is definitely an honor to serve the students, faculty and staff of Santiago Canyon College, as well as the residents of our community,” Vázquez said. “It has been especially gratifying watching our college blossom with new facilities and programs to better meet the needs of our students and the community. We have been able to do so through the support of the RSCCD Board of Trustees, our college district, our exemplary faculty, staff, students and the community that we serve.”
About Santiago Canyon College
Santiago Canyon College is a public community college of Rancho Santiago Community College District, serving the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Tustin and Villa Park. The college provides education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.
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