Two years after he was named acting president of Mission College, William Norlund was selected Wednesday to lead the school on a permanent basis.
“I think the [trustees] believe that this decision will help the school go forward with its business,” said Blaire Sillers, assistant to Los Angeles Community College District President William Segura.
“Obviously, I’m gratified and happy,” Norlund said following his selection by the district’s Board of Trustees. “We will now be moving on with our new library-resource center and moving the college into the 21st century.”
Norlund, 59, of Granada Hills, is a former physics instructor and longtime community college administrator. He was vice president of academic affairs at Pierce College for five years before being hired at Mission in January 1995 to replace outgoing President Jack Fujimoto on an interim basis.
At the time, the school was still reeling from the effects of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Enrollment had dropped from a peak of more than 7,400 students in 1992 to less than 5,900 for the 1995 spring semester, and the school faced a $1.5-million budget shortfall, the largest in the nine-campus system.
Since then, however, Mission has made great strides, according to Segura.
Speaking at a community advisory meeting at Mission in January, Segura praised Norlund and other school administrators for revitalizing the campus and bringing enrollment back to pre-earthquake levels.
“I think what’s happening at Mission right now is exciting,” Segura said. “I have the greatest expectations about Mission and its future.”
Later this month, Mission is scheduled to open a three-level, $11-million library and computer resource center that has been in the works for years.
“This [facility] gives us an opportunity to put a brand new focus on the way we teach our students,” Norlund said in January. “We will have one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the state, not just at community colleges but at any school.”
Last May, a campus search committee selected Norlund as one of three finalists for the president’s position.
Sillers said Wednesday that Norlund’s name was the only one Segura submitted to the Board of Trustees for final consideration.
During his tenure at Mission, Norlund has won praise from students and faculty alike for his affable, low-key style.
“This selection will help to maintain consistency and continuity on the Mission campus,” said Sillers.
“The faculty and students won’t have to adjust to a new leadership style that would result from a new president coming in.”
Norlund is an executive board member of the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers Assn. and a member of the California Teachers Assn.
Mission is the youngest of the district’s nine schools. Instruction began in 1975 with students attending classes in a scattered collection of former storefronts.