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Crafton Hills College Invests Ninth President, Dr. Kevin Horan
It’s not often that a new college president is willing to talk publicly about his difficult early college days and refer to feeling as a “failure.” But such was the scenario as community leaders, educators and students from across San Bernardino County — and beyond — gathered last Friday afternoon at Crafton Hills College’s (CHC) Finkelstein Performing Arts Center for the investiture of the college’s ninth president. Dr. Kevin Horan was officially welcomed by those gathered; however, Horan began his new position on Jan. 7 following his November 2018 appointment by the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) Board of Trustees.
Cali Binks, superintendent of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District (YCJUSD) spoke in welcoming Horan and his family to Yucaipa. She looked to preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and creator/host Fred Rogers in welcoming the Horans to the “neighborhood.”
Binks spoke on the importance of partnership between CHC and K-12 sites in the region. She mentioned ideas in the works include expanding on college readiness and dual enrollment opportunities to ensure a “seamless transition” into higher education. She also added that much of the educational successes seen in the county is “built on service to our families and our relationships.”
San Bernardino Valley College’s (SBVC) president Diana Rodriguez, called Horan the “perfect partner” to implement positive change at CHC and across the SBCCD. CHC and SBVC are the two colleges within the SBCCD. Helen Benjamin, retried chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) where Horan was previously employed, agreed with Rodriguez’s sentiments adding Horan is ready for what lies ahead.
“… (CHC’s) mission statement as stated online is to ‘advance the educational, career and personal success of a diverse campus community through engagement and learning.’ This mission is perfectly suited for Dr. Horan who has proven his commitment to engagement and learning and the jobs he has held,” said Benjamin.
When Horan took to the podium — with his wife Erin and their two children along with his parents, older brother and in-laws in attendance – he spoke of his early personal struggles as a community college student with a low-grade point average and uncertainty of the future. He shared his feelings as a “failure” but said the experience “laid the groundwork” for him to discover his path and passion for student development.
“To the faculty here today, I recognize (that) you do so much more than serve as experts in your field of study,” he continued. “You are the inspiration for students to find their academic passion. You foster curiosity and critical thinking. You offer encouragement in your words and your actions, (and) I know this because you reached out to me and encouraged me when I was a struggling student.
“Your support is the only reason I had a glimmer of hope that I would one day not feel like an imposter in the classroom,” he said.
Horan has had a successful career in education having built a name for himself in education through his work in student services with the CCCCD, most recently as the vice president of instruction and student services at Los Medanos Community College in Pittsburg, Calif. At Los Medanos, Horan led the efforts to increase student success with an emphasis on inclusion and collaboration between faculty and students.