Allan Hancock College’s new superintendent/president, Kevin Walthers, Ph.D., spent part of his second day on the job meeting with local media representatives and college employees. He was scheduled to meet with students in a “Pizza with the President” event Wednesday on the Santa Maria campus.
Walthers, who came to Hancock after serving as president of Las Positas College in Livermore, was selected by the college’s Board of Trustees in May from a national pool of candidates. He becomes the college district’s fifth permanent president.
The district was formed in 1954; prior to that, the college was part of the Santa Maria High School District, and as such did not have its own president.
The presidency has been filled for the past year on an interim basis by Elizabeth Miller, Ed.D., the college’s associate superintendent/vice president of administrative services. Miller was appointed interim superintendent/president in July 2012 following the departure of former president José Ortiz, Ed.D., who left Hancock after five years to become chancellor of California’s Peralta Community College District.
In introducing Walthers at Tuesday’s media briefing, board president Larry Lahr said, “As a board, one of our most important jobs is choosing the leader of this college. I have to say with Dr. Walthers we believe we have completed our job extremely well. He joins us as we just received word last week from the accrediting commission that, following a midterm visit, our accreditation status has been fully reaffirmed. This was expected, but none-the-less excellent news. It’s a great start for Dr. Walthers and our tenure together.”
During his tenure at Las Positas, Walthers said he is most proud of fostering college relationships with the community, creating innovative fundraising programs, leading mid-term accreditation requirements and building a strong and diverse administrative team.
Prior to joining Las Positas College, Walthers served in executive roles with the Utah State Board of Regents, the College of Eastern Utah, and most recently held a joint position with the West Virginia Community and Technical College System and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. As the vice chancellor for administration in West Virginia, Walthers provided oversight of WVNET, the state’s central network service and internet provider for colleges and universities.
Walthers began his career as an educator by teaching high school in north Texas. He has taught at all levels of higher education and is a guest lecturer on leadership, management and social justice issues.
“It may sound trite, but this is a dream come true for my family and me,” Walthers said. “I have been aware of the good work and great success of Allan Hancock College for many years, and had hoped that someday I might be a part of this wonderful college and community. Now that day has come, and I could not be more pleased.”
Walthers attended Eastfield Community College in Mesquite, Texas, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s of educational administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah.
Born in Dallas, Walthers was raised in an Air Force family and lived in several states before moving back to Texas. He and his wife, Shannon Elliott, have a 10-year-old son, Trey.
— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.