Chancellor bids fond farewell

After serving the Los Rios Community College District for more than a decade, Chancellor Brice Harris announced on Jan. 12 his plans for retirement at the end of August.
“Dr. Harris’ retirement will be a great loss to the Los Rios Community College District,” said Markus Geissler, professor of computer information science. “His outstanding ability to unite all of our district’s stakeholders through the development of our shared values, and his consistent reference and adherence to those values, will continue to allow us to serve more students efficiently into the future.”
Harris is the longest serving chancellor in the history of the LRCCD and was named Sacramentan of the Year in 2011 by the Sacramento Metro Chamber, according to an article in the Sacramento Business Journal.

Harris said he originally began his work with the American community college system in 1972 where he was part of the faculty for Kansas City Community College in Missouri. Eventually he made his way to California when he accepted a position with Fresno City College. Then in 1996 he applied for chancellor of the LRCCD where he worked to improve the community college system in Sacramento.

“Chancellor Harris has been a huge asset to Cosumnes River College and the Los Rios Community College District,” said CRC Public Information Officer Kristie West. “He has accomplished a great deal during his time here, including advocacy for California Community Colleges, transforming the district colleges with the passage of bond measures, and most recently, providing the college staff with a sense of calm during this budget crisis. He will be greatly missed and his shoes will be difficult to fill.”

Since beginning his career in education Harris made himself known as an advocate for community colleges and the benefits they provide to the students.

“American community colleges are the youngest segment in the higher education system,” Harris said. “They in the past have been overlooked, but in the past 10 years there has been a dramatic uptake and real improvement in image. Unfortunately in this economy climate, the money hasn’t caught up.”

Harris was recently praised for his accomplishment of leading the district through two local bond measures, which provided funds to renovate and expand facilities at all four Los Rios colleges.

“Dr. Harris’ greatest contribution to our district was his ability to unite the community behind the bond measures that have allowed our district to expand and modernize its facilities to help us serve our students,” Geissler said.

However, Harris insists he didn’t work alone throughout these contributions.

“I haven’t accomplished anything, but we as a team have,” Harris said. “Our greatest achievement has been one, the improved performance of students, two, raising awareness of these colleges and three, the dramatic improvement of the facilities. One person can’t accomplish all this on his own, this is all dependent on a team effort.”

When asked for any suggestions for the next LRCCD chancellor Harris had only one piece of advice.

“Anybody joining the Los Rios community must seek to understand the the values of the things we value, which is the students and the facilities. You should be encouraged to do whatever to keep those values in.”

As Los Rios’ longest serving chancellor Harris says he will mostly miss the students and staff that make the Los Rios district.

“I’ll miss the the students, staff and the faculty,” Harris said. “It’s been a wonderful 16 years that I’ve had.”