The Coast Community College District Board of Trustees have announced that Dr. Angelica Suarez has been named the next president of Orange Coast College. Suarez will succeed former president Dr. Dennis Harkins, who was the third-longest serving president in the community college’s history.
“I am honored to be selected as the next president of Orange Coast College, as higher education has been a focal point of my life and career for many years,” Suarez said in a statement.
Suarez will begin her new role in July, taking over the duties from interim president Kevin Ballinger.
“I was very pleased by the selection and appointment by the Coast District board of trustees,” said Ballinger, who will return to his post as vice president of instruction. “Orange Coast College is already a leader among community colleges. Dr. Suarez’s background and experience can only make OCC even better.”
Suarez has held many positions throughout her more than 30 years working in education. She currently serves as vice president of academic affairs at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, and previously worked in many administrative and faculty positions at the Southwestern and at Wright College, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Dr. Suarez is recognized as a collaborative and inspiring leader who is focused on creating equitable and accessible pathways to higher education for all students,” said District Chancellor John Weispfenning in a statement. “She brings a depth and breadth of experience in student services and academic affairs to lead OCC into the future.”
Lorraine Prinsky, president of the district board of trustees, said that Suarez was selected for her “great passion” and experience with community colleges.
Suarez earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts and sciences from East Los Angeles College, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in counseling psychology from California State University-Long Beach and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from Loyola University Chicago.