A Washington college president has been selected as the new chancellor of West Valley-Mission Community College District effective July 1.
Patrick Schmitt, president of Pierce College Puyallup in Washington, succeeds Chancellor John E. Hendrickson, who's retiring at the end of June after serving in that capacity for more than three years, since August of 2008.
Schmitt, college president since 2010, brings with him 29 years of experience in higher education, including 16 as a full-time faculty member, said WVMCCD Associate Vice Chancellor Bradley Davis.
In visiting West Valley College in Saratoga and Mission College in Santa Clara, Schmitt said he was impressed with the energy he sensed and the opportunity to further emphasize the district’s role in Silicon Valley, Bradley added.
The district enrolls more than 26,000 students annually and serves residents of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Santa Clara and is governed by a seven-member board.
WVC's enrollment is about 11,000 students.
“I see my role in the district as helping develop and clarify [its] identity so that we can better serve both the students and the community through what we do,” Schmitt said in a prepared statement. “This may sound hokey, but it’s true – in some ways, this is the job I’ve been aiming at all my life. I couldn’t think of a better job.”
Prior to his time at Pierce College Puyallup, Schmitt was campus executive officer and dean for four years at University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.
He also worked for six years at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL as associate dean, dean and associate vice president of instruction. He was a full-time faculty member in theater arts at Pasco-Hernando Community College in Brooksville, FL and at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Schmitt earned his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in theatre and drama.
Retiring chandelor Hendrickson had this to say about his service in the district: “It’s been a remarkable journey to work with our two colleges and to be able to participate in the turnaround of very rough financial difficulties to be in a position to where we’re looking toward the future with the idea of collaboration and the expectation of continuing to improve our services to our students.”
Davis said Hendrickson is widely credited with putting the district on sound financial footing.
“Chancellor Hendrickson has been an incredible asset to the West Valley-Mission Community College District, and he will be missed,” said trustee Chad Walsh. “He has guided the district through great financial challenges and established a stable foundation that will be the launch pad for the district’s long-term success.”
Hendrickson hired , and the leader of Mission College. He also helped start many construction projects at both campuses, Bradley added.
Schmitt was selected by the district's Board of Trustees after an extensive nationwide search, Bradley noted.
“Throughout a year-long national search, the district left no stone unturned in its search for our next chancellor,” Davis indicated, who chaired the search committee. “The district community feels strongly that it deserves the best leader possible, and given Dr. Schmitt’s unique combination of experience and vision, we believe we have found exactly that.”
MC President Laurel Jones said she is excited to have Schmitt on board.
“Dr. Schmitt brings with him an understanding of learning and program dynamics as well as a different perspective as an out-of-state selection,” Jones said. “His passion for teaching, his support of students, and his desire to help both colleges serve their respective communities is a great beginning for what Mission College hopes is a fruitful foundation of continued success for this dynamic district.”