will soon be on the search for a new president.
As faculty and staff prepare to bid current president Tom Mohr farewell, pending his recently announced retirement, many are saying his shoes will be very tough to fill.
“He has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Linda Hayes, Dean of the Business, Workforce and Athletics Division in the college’s Office of Instruction.
This won’t be Mohr’s first attempt at retirement—he was previously the superintendent of the San Mateo Union High School District for 10 years, and had been retired for roughly a year and a half when the chancellor of the community college district approached him and asked him to fill in as an interim president when the previous president left.
What was supposed to be merely a temporarily fill-in ended up being a permanent position. Though the college conducted a nationwide search for a new president, they ended up asking Mohr to officially apply for the position, and appointed him, he said.
Mohr said, what he had discovered at Cañada during his interim position inspired him enough to pull him out of retirement completely and accept the permanent position.
“I just found Cañada to be the most meaningful assignment I’d ever had,” Mohr explained. “Cañada just has a wonderful faculty and staff, and a very important mission of the college as well—helping a lot of struggling young people to get their degrees. I found that to be very meaningful and I really loved the place, and the beauty of the place, and especially found the faculty and staff to be people I really admired and enjoyed, and wanted to be with. That’s basically the heart of it.”
Mohr’s colleagues say he will be leaving behind a very strong legacy, indeed—one that won’t soon be forgotten.
“We’re just going to really miss him. He just came up with ideas that were unbelievable. I’ll miss his creativeness and innovativeness that he brought to the college,” said Hayes. “He really brought the college a long way in his six years. He really made a positive impact, and he should be very proud; we’re all proud of him, and I just wish we could turn back the hands of time.”
“It’s been a really wonderful experience working with him,” said Sarah Perkins, Cañada’s vice president of instruction. “He’s both a great leader and mentor.”
Perkins said, Mohr was instrumental in getting her to the college when she accepted her employment offer.
“He works with a great sense of integrity and professionalism in what he does, but he also has a big heart and he cares deeply about the education of our students and of our community. He has great respect for the faculty and the staff of the college, and through that respect, he really allows the faculty and staff to develop the kind of programming and curriculum that really meets the needs of the students,” she said. “To be honest, that is one of the things that really attracted me to move here and come to Cañada as the vice president of instruction and work with him.”
Mohr said, though he will miss working at Cañada, he felt now was finally the time to retire for good.
“We’ve done a lot of things together, the faculty and staff and I. And, I’ll be 77 on my next birthday, and this was my 50th year in public education,” he said. “All things considered, I want to spend more time with my family. I have two sons that live in Virginia and seven grandchildren. So, given my age and where my family lives, I decided it was the time.”
Mohr and his wife, who live in San Mateo, look forward to traveling back and forth to Virginia more often to see their family.
“It’s time,” he said. “But I will greatly miss the great faculty and staff at Cañada.”