FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Executive Director of Communications and External Relations
Citrus College superintendent/president announces upcoming retirement
Glendora, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2021) – Citrus College Superintendent/President Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D., will retire on July 1, 2021.
Although she first shared the news with the college community in December 2020, Superintendent/President Perri's retirement plans were made official during the Jan. 19, 2021, meeting of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees.
"It has been an honor to be a part of the Citrus College community for the past 13 years. Together, we have established Citrus College as a state and national leader in higher education," Superintendent/President Perri said. "As the college prepares for this next chapter, I am confident that countless more lives will be improved through the power of education."
When Superintendent/President Perri stepped into her role in July 2008, she became the first woman and the seventh superintendent/president in Citrus College history. A dedicated educator with extensive experience in community college administration, she was well-equipped for her role as the college's chief executive.
Since that time, an impressive body of work has been accomplished under Superintendent/President Perri's leadership. From tackling the objectives established by three strategic plans to successfully navigating several accreditation cycles, the college worked to meet the evolving needs of its students and surrounding communities. One way it has done so is through the College of Completion initiative. Launched in response to a White House mandate challenging the nation's colleges to increase graduation rates, College of Completion employs a number of strategies that support students in their pursuit of higher education and lead to degree completion and transfer.
From the beginning, relationship building was a priority for Superintendent/President Perri. During her tenure, Citrus College's ties to the community were strengthened through campus tours, special events, informative presentations and more. Outreach to elected officials, local educators, business and industry leaders, and prospective students and their parents allowed the college to engage with the community in a manner that was both meaningful and mutually beneficial.
The Citrus College Foundation played a significant role in increasing the college's community engagement. An active presence within the Foundation, Superintendent/President Perri worked with the organization's executive board members and supporters to spread the word about Citrus College and advance the goals of its students. Since Superintendent/President Perri has been at the helm of Citrus College, the Foundation's financial holdings have hit a new benchmark, increasing to over $11 million in the fall of 2020. In addition, the Foundation spearheaded the Citrus College centennial celebration, received the largest endowment in the college's history and established the President's Circle, which funded College of Completion initiatives and secured major funding for the Citrus College Promise program.
Another major highlight of Superintendent/President Perri's tenure has been the creation and expansion of academic support programs that have increased educational opportunities for students. These include the veterans program, which has consistently earned Citrus College the national Military Friendly School designation; the STEM program, which has received multiple federal grants and has produced impressive student outcomes; and dual enrollment, which makes it possible for high school students to pursue a community college associate degree concurrently with a high school diploma. The college's success in developing and implementing new associate degrees for transfer also earned recognition, including receiving the Campaign for College Opportunity's "Champion of Higher Education" designation on several occasions.
In addition, significant facilities improvements have been made under Superintendent/President Perri's watch. With the help of Measure G bond funds and the completion of two Educational and Facilities Master Plans, the Citrus College campus has been transformed and new facilities have been constructed. These include the stadium Field House and adjoining concession stand, Softball Field complex, Student Services Building, Technician Development and Technology Engineering facilities, Campus Safety Building, and Visual Arts Building. In addition, several buildings were renovated, including the Physical Education Building (formerly main gym), Administration Building, Hayden Hall and the Ross L. Handy Campus Center.
Last year, the college adopted a new 2020-2030 Educational and Facilities Master Plan, which provides a road map for meeting the college's educational, student support services, technology and facility needs. Completion of some of the plan's facilities goals will be made possible by Measure Y, a $298 million bond measure that was passed by voters in November 2020. Known as the Citrus College Career Education, Repair, Affordable Education Measure, it will help the college improve the quality of education by upgrading facilities, meeting safety standards and providing resources to students.
"Citrus College has benefitted greatly from Dr. Perri's unfailing dedication to fulfilling the college's mission," said Dr. Patricia A. Rasmussen, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees. "A gifted and creative leader, she performed her duties with excellence and always expected the same from those who work with her. From the moment Dr. Perri stepped into the role of superintendent/president, she was committed to creating a campus culture where student success thrives."
This commitment to student success has had a remarkable outcome. Over the past 13 years, Citrus College students have earned associate degrees, career technical certificates and have transferred to four-year institutions in record numbers. As a result, the college has received consistent recognition as a "Top 100" producer of associate degrees by Community College Week magazine and a "Top 50" producer of associate degrees by the Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine. In addition, the college was nominated for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence four consecutive times, received the 2015 California Community College Chancellor's Student Success Award and was presented with the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 Award of Excellence in the Student Success category.
During Dr. Perri's watch, Citrus College was also presented with several awards for its marketing and communication efforts. Most recently, the college received first and third place honors from the Community College Public Relations Organization, a statewide professional development and service organization, and it was recognized by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations for having the second-best community college Instagram account in the entire United States. Citrus College has also been consistently voted the region's "Best Community College" by the readers of Beacon Media News and the Southern California News Group.
One of the college's most recent recognitions was the result of its sustainability efforts. In January 2021, Citrus College was one of five institutions that were selected to receive a California Community Colleges Board of Governors Energy and Sustainability Award. However, this wasn't the first time the college has been lauded for its sustainability efforts. The Green California Community College Summit presented Citrus College with its Green Campus Award during the 2010-2011 academic year.
"I will be forever grateful for the hard work and passion the faculty, staff, students and supporters have invested into Citrus College," Superintendent/President Perri said. "Together, we have reached numerous impressive milestones and have achieved many outstanding accomplishments for which we can be very proud. Serving as superintendent/president of Citrus College will always be remembered as a career highlight for me."
Superintendent/President Perri's professional career spans close to 40 years and includes time as both a college administrator and faculty member. Prior to joining the Citrus College community, she served as president of Cuyamaca College in San Diego County, California. She also held the position of vice president of instruction at San Diego Mesa College and dean of instruction/career education at Mt. San Jacinto College in Riverside County, California. Superintendent/President Perri began her career as a dental hygiene faculty member and later served as an associate dean of academic affairs at her alma mater, Hostos Community College, which is part of the City University of New York system.
Superintendent/President Perri holds an associate degree in dental hygiene from Hostos Community College, and a bachelor's degree in dental health education and a master's degree in health education, both from New York University. In addition, she earned a master's degree in organizational development and a doctorate in human and organizational development from the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. Superintendent/President Perri's many professional honors include receiving the 2010 Hostos Community College outstanding alumni award; the 2011 YWCA San Gabriel Valley Woman of Achievement Award; U.S. Rep. Judy Chu's 2013 "Educator of the Year" award for the 27th congressional district; California State Senator Anthony Portantino's 2017 "Woman of the Year" designation; and the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction by the national Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
"We have been very fortunate to have someone with Dr. Perri's talent and insight serve as our superintendent/president during a time in which community colleges have undergone immense change and unprecedented challenges," continued Board President Rasmussen. "She has created a rich legacy of student success and college completion at Citrus College. Looking forward, I am certain the number of students achieving their academic goals will increase in the years ahead and Citrus College will continue the good work that began with Dr. Perri."