Jack Fujimoto, who began his 30-year career in the 1950s, enjoys being a pioneer educational administrator and teacher.
In 1978 he was appointed president of Sacramento City College, becoming the first Asian American to head a community college in the United States.
In 1989 he was named interim president of Mission College in Sylmar and was appointed to the post permanently two years later. While at Mission, he spearheaded the college's transition from temporary storefront classrooms to its permanent $25-million campus on a 22.5-acre site adjacent to El Cariso Regional Park.
Fujimoto launched a building project for the college's first library, a $12-million state-of-the-art facility that opened this spring.
In an interview with The Times on the college's 20th anniversary in 1995, Fujimoto reflected on how Mission's role differed from that of its sister colleges. In addition to preparing students to transfer to four-year institutions and providing vocational education, he said, Mission is also heavily involved in its community.
After the Northridge earthquake, "We were out in the community, counseling small business and community folks and helping them get loans from FEMA and SBA," Fujimoto said.
Fujimoto was called downtown in 1995 to help the Los Angeles Community College District find external sources of financing. Although he accepted a buyout offer from administrators later that year, his work with the district was not finished.
He returned to work for the district in 1996 as acting president of Pierce College in Woodland Hills until the appointment of E. Bing Inocencio to the permanent post. He also led the search committee to appoint the current Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent.
Fujimoto, 69, now lectures in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies' Leadership Career Program at UCLA, where he earned his doctorate in 1960.