Things were rolling along quite well in the summer of 2007. For some perspective on just how long ago that was, the first iPhone had just shipped, the Anaheim Ducks were the newly crowned Stanley Cup champions, and the cost to attend community college had recently dipped to $20 per unit.
Another significant milestone that summer: Dr. Mike Kasler became the 10th president of Cypress College.
This morning, 4 1/2 years later, Dr. Kasler announced at a campus-wide employee meeting that this will be his last semester at the college after nearly 20 years on the campus.
One measure of Dr. Kasler’s impact on Cypress College can be found in how the announcement went from that meeting to being public: a Facebook posting from one of the student leaders in the audience.
“Our dear Cypress College President Dr. Kasler has announced his retirement at the end of the spring 2012 semester,” Associated Students President Gabriel Rubio wrote on the website. “Let’s make it count this last semester!”
Dr. Kasler, who consistently focused on maintaining a student-centered college, was that important to the students that they broke the news.
Our job as employees is to serve students.
Dr. Kasler always had that in mind, even as he took the job in 2007.
“Let me start by saying that I am absolutely delighted to be president of this campus,” he said in a letter to the campus community shortly after being named president. “I have the tremendous fortune of working with dedicated faculty, staff and managers who are committed to serving our students. We work in a collegial atmosphere with people who are committed to doing the right things for the right reasons.”
With two interim vice presidents, three new deans, and significant construction work still underway on campus, Dr. Kasler noted that it would be a time of change at Cypress College.
Another of his trademark attributes is connecting with people. It showed in that first communication, in which he noted that change didn’t necessarily mark a departure. Sharing his expectations as an freshman president was “important to the preservation of our campus culture.”
- Foster an environment of trust, honesty and integrity;
- Be actively involved in the decision-making process and ultimately support the result of that process;
- When a mistake is made, admit it, correct it and move on; and
- Understand that we are in the people business. Listen to people and respect them.
He closed: “I look forward to this being the first of many successful years together.”
The years have been successful — though, certainly, not as planned.
Just weeks into his presidency, the state budget situation was coming apart. It was the beginning of a long series of events resulting in the most-significant funding reductions experienced by California’s community colleges.
Through 4 1/2 years of cuts, Dr. Kasler has been skillful in guiding Cypress College — all the while focused on people: our students and the people employed to instruct them or otherwise support their education.
It may not be the presidency he envisioned back in 2007. At the same time, it’s hard to picture a better leader being here to guide the institution during this time.
Dr. Kasler has earned his retirement — and, we wish him the best.