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College President Honored for Career

March 09, 2000|KATIE COOPER

The Assn. of California Community College Administrators has awarded Moorpark College President James Walker its highest honor for his 41-year career in public education.

The Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award, named after one of the association's founders, pays tribute to administrators who demonstrate integrity, principle and leadership, and who have made significant contributions to their college and community.

Nominees must be a chief executive of one of the 71 California community college districts or 106 community colleges.

Walker, 63, is the first college president from the Ventura County Community College District to win the award. In 1995, district Chancellor Thomas Lakin received the award posthumously.

Walker, who has a doctorate in education and a master's degree in mathematics, was nominated by Moorpark campus faculty, staff, deans and colleagues from around the state.

"You don't earn these kinds of things by yourself," Walker said. "When you get into a marvelous thing like here at Moorpark with such great faculty, staff and managers, they make me look better . . . and make my job easy."

Before becoming college president in 1992, Walker held several teaching and management positions at the high school and community college level.

When he began as Moorpark's president, it was a time of fiscal restraint marked by budget cuts and hiring freezes. State financing for community colleges has since improved, and Walker has led the college through a period of growth, expanding facilities and staff to meet increasing enrollment.

Under Walker's leadership, the campus has added the $10-million Performing Arts Center, the $11-million Kavli Science Center, a learning resource and telecommunications building, and an off-campus center, in partnership with Conejo Valley Unified School District.

Contributions to the nonprofit Moorpark College Foundation have also increased. During Walker's tenure, more than $400,000 has been raised. Money raised by the foundation in the 1980s was used to build a campus observatory and sports stadium.

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