Patrick Schmitt named chancellor of West Valley-Mission Community College District in California

West Valley-Mission Community College District May 21, 2012

Patrick Schmitt named chancellor of West Valley-Mission CC District

Patrick Schmitt, president of Pierce College Puyallup in Washington, has been selected by the West Valley-Mission Community College District Board of Trustees as the district’s new chancellor. Schmitt will begin July 1.

Schmitt, college president since 2010, brings with him 29 years of experience in higher education, including 16 as a fulltime faculty member. In visiting both West Valley College and Mission College, Schmitt said he was impressed with the tremendous amount of energy he sensed and the opportunity to further emphasize the district’s role in Silicon Valley. Schmitt pointed to the new solar panels at both campuses as evidence of the district’s forward-thinking approach.

“I take those kinds of things as very symbolic,” Schmitt said. “It signifies that people in the district are thinking differently and that really appealed to me.”

Schmitt describes the district as “emergent,” in that WVMCCD’s identity is shifting as changes happen both within California and the Silicon Valley.

“I see my role in the district as helping develop and clarify that identity so that we can better serve both the students and the community through what we do,” Schmitt said. “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, Ill. as associate dean, dean and associate vice president of instruction. Prior to that, he was a fulltime faculty member in theater arts at Pasco-Hernando Community College in Brooksville, Florida and at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Schmitt earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in theatre and drama.

Schmitt takes over for Chancellor John Hendrickson, who is retiring at the end of June. Hendrickson describes his time with the district as “the most rewarding four years of my career.”

“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,” said Hendrickson, who 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.”
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