In a unanimous vote, the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees named Angelica Suarez the new president of Orange Coast College during its regularly-scheduled meeting Wednesday.
The decision comes after a seven-month search following the unexpected resignation of former OCC President Dennis Harkins in September.
Suarez will leave her position as vice president of student affairs at Southwestern Community College District outside San Diego after 10 years in the role.
Robert Schneiderman, an instructor at OCC and a member of the presidential search committee welcomed Suarez during the public comments section of the meeting.
“She understands the value of student services for the achievement of students,” Schneiderman said.
In addition to her work, Suarez also has personal experience with California’s community college system. She graduated from East Los Angeles College with an associate of arts degree in liberal arts and sciences/liberal studies before moving on to Cal State Long Beach, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s in psychology.
She later obtained her doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Loyola University Chicago.
Suarez gave a short acceptance speech after the board finalized its motion and welcomed her to the job.
“This school has a reputation of excellence and an unequivocal focus on student success,” Suarez said. “I really look forward to working with the chancellors, the trustees and the college community to build on the many successes of Orange Coast College.”
Members of the board praised Suarez for her work in education and commitment to student services.
Trustee member Mary Hornbuckle was impressed with Suarez’s skills and praised the committee on their selections.
“When we interviewed her, she was the cream of the crop and the crop was pretty creamy,” Hornbuckle said.
Jim Moreno, the board clerk, said there were upwards of 15 colleges looking for a new president due to promotions or retirement.
“I feel fortunate that everyone here had the wisdom to select (Suarez),” Moreno said. “We look forward to many, many good years of service.”
Congressman Harley Rouda of California’s 48th congressional district was also in attendance for the meeting.
After the president’s acceptance, Rouda gave a speech summarizing his work as congressman so far and outlining his future plans.
Jerry Patterson, vice president of the board, told Rouda it was the first time he had seen a congressman in the building in his many years of working for the district.
Suarez will take the helm at OCC in July.