California Southern University picks chancellor to serve as school’s next president

California Southern officials announced Chancellor Glenn Roquemore has been named president of the online university. He replaces Gwen Finestone, who's served as president since 2018.
(Courtesy of California Southern University)

California Southern University’s board of directors recently announced Chancellor Glenn Roquemore — who served as president of Irvine Valley College for 17 years before coming to CalSouthern earlier this year — has been named president of the online university.

Roquemore comes to the online university with more than 28 years of experience in higher education, having started at Irvine Valley College in 1991 as chair of the school’s geology department and served the school in numerous capacities before being named president in 2002.

CalSouthern Board Chair J. Ramon Villanueva said in a release Wednesday said Roquemore’s transition into the position of chancellor at the university’s Costa Mesa headquarters was so seamless his leadership skills became immediately apparent.

“Within weeks of Dr. Roquemore’s arrival in January 2020, and amid the unprecedented circumstances of the past several months, it became clear that his true calling is to lead as a university president—and his lifetime of experience and contributions can be best realized if he assumes the top position.”

The Irvine resident replaces Gwen Finestone, who has served as president since 2018. California Southern announced in December Vaughn Hartunian, president and founder of Monrovia’s online Mt. Sierra College, had been selected as president, but the Granada Hills educator never came to the position.

Founded in 1978, CalSouthern offers 29 accredited online certificate programs as well as bachelor and graduate programs in behavioral sciences, business, nursing, education and criminal justice.

In his new role, Roquemore will continue to work with the university’s senior leaders to ensure academic program quality as the distance-learning university undergoes a transition to a new website and class format. A new website at is due to launch sometime later this year.

“I’m honored to take an even larger role implementing the California Southern University mission to reach more enterprising adults who need an undergraduate or graduate degree but have been held back by finances, geographic isolation, job and family concerns or other perceived barriers,” Roquemore said.

“CalSouthern has a special purpose — and I’m delighted to be able to lead the team that is making good on that promise,” he continued.

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