Klamath Community College is now under new management.
Dr. Roberto Gutierrez is in his first days as Klamath Community College president. Gutierrez says he's still getting a feel for the school, and its future...
"I've been meeting with the college employees first. I'm trying to get the sense of the culture of this institution, so I can formulate which direction we want to go."
KCC spokesman Ryan Brown notes that community colleges are one of the few businesses that may actually benefit from a poor economy...
"When there are fewer jobs available, more people are going to college straight out of high school, or being re-trained."
"It's a huge economic engine." Adds Dr. Gutierrez.
Student numbers are up, and Brown notes that so are the number of graduates...
"During the 2011-12 academic year, nearly twice as many degrees and certificates awarded compared to the previous year."
Dr. Gutierrez pointed out that Klamath Community College will soon be home to the Klamath Small Business Development Center. "The backbone of this nation is that small business person that starts those small jobs that hire six, seven people. We need to focus on that also."
Gutierrez says he's focused on the long haul. "I'm looking forward to meeting the community, Klamath Falls, getting to know this community a lot better, and being here for many, many years - and retire here."
Gutierrez fills the vacancy created by the retirement of former KCC president Gerald Hamilton.
Originally from Texas, Gutierrez has spent most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. His degrees include a doctor of education from Oregon State University. His most recent position was vice-president of academic affairs at Rhodes State College in Ohio.