Southwestern College President and Superintendent Kindred Murillo will retire at the end of this academic year after serving 24 years in the California Community College System, the college confirmed Wednesday.
Beginning as an adjunct faculty member at Desert Community College District, Murillo has served in various roles. She spent 11 years as a chief business official and served her last nine years in the system as a college president, first at Lake Tahoe Community College District, and then at Southwestern College for more than four years.
“It is the commitment faculty, classified professionals and administrators have had to the success and achievement of our students that has made my career so rewarding,” Murillo said. “Southwestern College has been the most remarkable community college I have had the privilege of serving during my entire academic career. We have worked together to establish a path of transformation for our students and our community.”
Murillo guided the college’s accreditation status from warning to reaffirmation within her first year. According to a college statement, she also tackled a backlog of personnel investigations and complaints, increasing accountability at the district.
Early in her tenure, she formed an Advisory Task Force on Inclusion & Race Relations that was intended to acknowledge a history of racism and inequity by design and to “develop transformative interventions designed to strengthen, enhance and support culture change,” a college document said.
Governing Board President Nora Vargas credits Murillo’s commitment for positioning Southwestern College as a model of equity in the California Community College System.
“Murillo’s transformative changes would have taken any other leader a decade to accomplish,” Vargas said. “The work she has done will continue to benefit our students and our community for years to come. This will be her legacy.”
According to the college, some of her other accomplishments include:
— Implementing hiring practices, procedures and professional development that have resulted in the diversification of Southwestern College faculty, staff and administrators by almost 8%, and the leadership of the college by 14%, over a three-year span;
— Moving from a 17% diverse executive leadership team to 75% diverse executive leadership;
— Increasing graduation rates as measured by the College Scorecard by 10% in a little more than three years; and
— Entering into a partnership with San Diego State University to launch an SDSU Microsite at Southwestern College that will provide access to four-year degrees to Southwestern graduates on the Southwestern College Chula Vista campus.
Murillo said she is looking forward to retirement with her husband Michael and her son Vance. She lives in South San Diego County and plans on spending more time paddle boarding on the San Diego Bay and enjoying bike riding on the Bayshore Bikeway.
The Southwestern College Governing Board will conduct a national search for her replacement that will include opportunity for community input.
–City News Service