A committee of influential Ventura County residents met for the first time Wednesday to guide the academic future of California State University's Ventura campus.
James W. Cleary, president of Cal State Northridge, of which the Ventura facility is a branch, introduced charter members of the new Community Advisory Board at a meeting in Ventura.
Cleary and Ventura campus Director Joyce Kennedy said they chose committee members based on their abilities to lead and speak for the community.
"We were looking for local leadership as we prepare for the next decade," Kennedy said. "We need people of commitment and vision."
Recent setbacks to the university's plans to build a permanent off-campus center in Ventura do not affect the duties of the committee, Kennedy said.
"This group is leading us in an academic direction rather than a physical direction," Kennedy said. "Its focus is not on a site, but on the higher education needs in the public sector in the next century."
Kennedy said the group primarily will advise the university on degrees it should offer, and to a limited extent, on classes needed for those degrees.
The group also could help the campus through its political connections, working to see that the center receives its share of state dollars, she said.
Serving for two, three or four-year terms are: William McAleer, president and chairman of the board of Ventura County National Bank; Carolyn Leavens of Leavens Ranches, a former president of American Agri-Women; Robert Long, president of Ventura College; Peter MacDougall, president of Santa Barbara City College; businessman Phil Bardos, and former Star-Free Press Editor Julius Gius.
Also serving are: Sheila Cluff, president of Fitness Inc., which operates The Oaks in Ojai and The Palms in Palm Springs; Bedford Pinkard, Oxnard High School District board chairman and Oxnard city recreation supervisor; Carmen Ramirez, director of Channel Counties Legal Services; Jessie Roybal, director of the Candelaria American Indian Council; Rita von Hoetzendorff, Ventura Chamber of Commerce president and owner of Comstar, a communications and management firm, and Vincent Ruiz, a member of the Ventura Unified School District board.