Isaac named RCC President

Interim President assumes permanent position

Posted: April 29, 2015 | Written by Crystal Olmedo
Chancellor Michael Burke looks on as Isaac speaks at a reception following his being appointed to RCC president.

Chancellor Michael Burke looks on as Isaac speaks at a reception following his being appointed to RCC president.


Wolde-Ab Isaac was appointed president of Riverside City College at the Board of Trustees meeting at Moreno Valley College on April 21.

The approval to name Isaac president passed on a 4-0 vote among the Board of Trustees. He received praise from many present at the meeting including Chancellor Michael Burke and Dariush Haghighat, an RCC political science professor.

Isaac expressed his gratitude after his appointment was announced.

“I would like to thank the supporters and friends of the institution, but especially Chancellor Burke and the Board of Trustees, and the faculty, staff, managers and students of Riverside City College. You have placed your confidence and trust in me to lead this nearly century-old institution as it transitions to its next millennium of service,” Issac said. “I pledge that I will do all I can to better the college … and confirm the trust and faith that you have bestowed upon me.”

He also expressed a “deep gratitude” to his parents at the meeting. “ … though they have nearly nothing materially they gave me immeasurable love care and support which has sustained me,” Isaac said.

Isaac was running for the position of RCC president against Elmer A. Bugg, dean of instruction at Merritt College in Oakland.

A national search was conducted to fill the position. Sylvia Thomas, interim vice chancellor of Diversity and Human Resources and Irv Hendricks, former interim chancellor of Riverside Community College District were among some of the members on the search committee.

Open forums were held for each candidate to introduce themselves and answer questions from audience members. The forums lacked a significant student presence. Some students say this was due to a lack of advertising for the forums by means of fliers, email  alerts or postings around campus to raise student awareness.

“I feel like more students would attend if there was more outreach. Obviously students do care … more than just the one or two (who were present at the forum) out of the thousands of students who go here,“ RCC student and Humanities, Philosophy and Arts major Damian Giampietro said. “I would have gone if I had known about it. I don’t really know what problems are going on or what needs to be solved, but I would want to know what is going on so that I can start establishing opinions on that and grow more awareness of what I need to be aware of.”

Isaac had served as the interim president since August 2013. In an interview with Viewpoints he gave some insight into the difference in the dynamic of serving as an interim versus the permanent position of president.

“The difference between an interim and a permanent (president) is that now you can start initiating activities that have long-term effects because you know that you are going to be around to see them and to push (for them),” Isaac said. “Whereas the life of an interim is not very well-defined.”

As he stressed in his candidate forum, Isaac says he looks forward to a collective decision process that includes all affiliated with RCC.