By Dora Yrigoyen / Asst. News Editor
By Dora Yrigoyen / Asst. News Editor
With a bittersweet ending Riverside City College bids farewell to campus president, Tom Harris and welcomes in Cynthia Azari.
Harris has been acting as an interim president for Riverside City College after the abrupt resignation of Jan Muto in May of 2010.
Harris was appointed by the Riverside Community College District officials in June of 2010 and has been acting as campus president while RCC was in search of a permanent president.
Harris was more than happy to accept the position of acting President for RCC,
“I have had a full career as a college president, faculty member, and chancellor. Then I was asked to help some colleges recruit for new presidents and was asked to do an interim assignment to be a president while they (the colleges) searched for a new one. That’s been so enjoyable I’ve continued to do it.”
Although Harris looks forward to the new experiences, students, faculty and community at the Moreno Valley campus, where he will be acting as an interim president, he will not soon forget his time and experience here at RCC.
“It’s been all wonderful; this is just a fine institute. Outstanding faculty, a lot of diversity amongst staff and students” Harris said. “The student body cabinet is so well-organized and they take their job seriously. The extra-curricular programs we have here are just tops in the state.”
Harris said that he has enjoyed his time here at RCC and the interaction with students, faculty, and staff.
Even though Harris has enjoyed his time here at RCC, he says his greatest accomplishment was being able to work with the college committees to get Riverside City College back on track.
“The main chore when I came was to get our accreditation back on track. We were on warning from credit commission,” Harris said. “This institution had committees in play to get us out of warning and I worked with those committees to get some assistance but this institution already had ways to get out of it and they did it… the credit goes to them I was able to provide some leadership but they were able to do it whether I was here or not.”
However, Harris said if there is anything he could have done differently, he would have liked to have more class sections available for students.
With all the budget cuts in higher education, classes students need to transfer or get their degrees are harder to come by.
Harris said he would have liked to help create more of those classes needed, but unfortunately, the money just was not there.
To Harris, the most troubling part of his job is seeing students who can not achieve their goals due to financial and personal difficulties.
“It’s sad to not see students be able to come here take the classes they need and move onto another job or school,” Harris said.
However, Harris does have some words of advice for RCC students who may be struggling with getting their college education.
“Don’t quit and don’t give up. If you have to quit school now and go back to work, do it. Go ahead and take care of what you need to take care of, but keep in mind you can always come back and start your semester again,” Harris said.
Harris advises students to come back despite whatever ones age may be.
“Don’t put implements in your path that don’t need to be there. Move them out of the way and get the job done,” Harris said.
As for the incoming RCC campus president, Harris speaks nothing but words of kindness.
“The school is very lucky to have her. She has a lot of experience, she wants to be here, and she plans to be here for quite a while and that’s what this college needs.”
Cynthia Azari begins as Riverside City College president on April 1, 2011.