The Santa Monica Community College District (SMC) board of trustees named Chui Tsang — president of San Jose City College — to the superintendent/ president post at SMC, effective Monday, February 27th.

Tsang — a first-generation Californian who started his higher education at a community college and went on to earn a doctorate in linguistics from Stan- ford University — has had a long career in education, workforce training, economic development, and nonprofits.

The 54-year-old Cupertino resident — whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong — was selected Monday, December 5th, from three finalists for the $175,000-a-year post.

He succeeds Piedad Robertson, who left SMC in January to take the presidency of the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.

Thomas Donner, former SMC executive vice president, has served as interim president since Robertson left.

“We believe that Dr. Tsang will be an outstanding president and will help us move ahead in exciting and challenging times for Santa Monica College,” said SMC board of trustees chair Carole Currey. “We were particularly impressed with Dr. Tsang’s perspicacity and sense of humor.”

The selection of Tsang comes after a nearly yearlong nationwide search that culminated with interviews with three finalists recommended by a presidential search committee.

Committee members included SMC students, faculty members, classified (non-teaching) employees, managers, and community residents.

The other finalists were Deborah Blue, vice president of policy and research for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in Novato, and G. Jeremiah Ryan, president of Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey.

Tsang has served as president of San Jose City College — which has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students — for almost nine years.

While at San Jose, Tsang led the college on a $200 million-plus construction boom, funded primarily by voter-approved bonds in 1998 and 2004, that included a new parking structure, library, technology center, student center, and science complex.

He also developed a strategic planning model that is continuously updated.

Prior to his post at San Jose, he served five years as dean of the School of Applied Science and Technology at the City College of San Francisco.

As dean, he helped establish the Evans Campus, which consolidated trade and technology programs in one facility.

From 1982 to 1992, Tsang served as executive director of the Career Resources Development Center, a vocational training and employment agency approved by the California State Department of Education.

He has taught at Stanford University, De Anza College in Cupertino, and San Francisco State University.

He was one of the founders of the Stanford Students for Boat People to help Vietnamese refugees and has been active with organizations such as the Bay View Hunter’s Point Foundation, which provides social services to San Francisco’s African-American community.

In addition, he has been active with the East Bay Regional Park Foundation and the San Francisco Private Industry Council.

Tsang was a senior technical advisor in human resources to a United Nations-funded international project, conducted staff training for the U.S. Forest Service, and was one of 16 Californians appointed to the California Constitution Revision Commission.

Other organizations he was involved with include Asian Americans for Community Development and the Goodwill Industry of Santa Clara County.

Tsang attended Contra Costa College — a two-year campus in the East San Francisco Bay Area — before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in linguistics in 1975.

He received his doctorate degree in linguistics from Stanford in 1981 and is a published author in the fields of linguistics, education and workforce training.

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