|Mark J. Zacovic|
After a career spanning three decades in the California community college system, Cuyamaca College President Mark J. Zacovic has announced his retirement, effective June 30.
Zacovic has served as president of Cuyamaca College, with about 9,000 students in Rancho San Diego, since July 2011. He led the college through some of the toughest budgetary challenges in the institution’s 37-year history, ensuring that students continued to receive a quality education while dealing with dramatic spending cuts from Sacramento.
“Cuyamaca College will always hold a very special place near and dear to my heart,” Zacovic said. “For 37 years, the college has done great work and that work will continue and thrive in the years to come.”
An interim president will be chosen to lead the college during the 2015-16 academic year while an extensive national search is conducted for a permanent replacement. The new president is expected to begin in July 2016.
Cuyamaca College offers a wide variety of degree and certificate programs, and is particularly renowned for its innovative programs in ornamental horticulture, auto technology and music industry studies. The 165-acre campus is also home to the Water Conservation Garden and the Heritage of the Americas Museum.
As president of Cuyamaca College, Zacovic promoted a heightened focus on student success based on yearly themes such as “Learn Today-Lead Tomorrow” or “Graduation Starts Today.” Last June, the college awarded a record number of more than 900 degrees and certificates, the result of student success measures.
The college has also been recognized as a leader in sustainable landscaping and green career training. In 2012, Cuyamaca College was selected as one of three community colleges in the state to be honored by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors for promoting sustainable landscaping on its campus. The college also created a sustainable urban landscape degree and certificate program, and hosts the annual Sustainable Turf and Landscape Seminar for water and landscaping professionals.
Last year, the college received the welcome news that its accreditation had been reaffirmed for another six years by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
The accreditation evaluation team particularly praised Cuyamaca College’s student-centered focus and its high level of student engagement in the decision-making process. The team also lauded the college’s facilities, many of them made possible by the 2002 passage of Proposition R, a $207 million bond measure.
Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, thanked Zacovic for his service to Cuyamaca College.
“Through some of the most trying times in the history of the college, Dr. Zacovic has been an energetic ambassador for Cuyamaca and the college district,” Miles said. “Always a gracious host, he is recognized for his magnanimity and going above and beyond to assist a student or employee in need.”
Before coming to Cuyamaca College, Zacovic had served as an administrator at eight community colleges and districts throughout California. He previously served as president of the board of directors of the Association for Chief Business Officials for California Community Colleges and was statewide recipient of the association’s 2006 Outstanding CBO Award.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a master’s in business administration from Whittier College. He received his doctorate in educational leadership in higher education from the University of Nevada, Reno.