Clatsop Community College President Lawrence Galizio has been named president and CEO of the Community College League of California in Sacramento.

Galizio said he would remain at the college through at least the end of June and likely start in his new position in Sacramento in the middle of July.

“This move is about this unique career opportunity,” Galizio said of leading the Community College League, adding that he was recruited for the position several weeks ago and found out he got the job within the last week.

Galizio got the position over Thuy Nguyen, the interim president and CEO of the league; and Robert Oakes, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. Galizio had been named a finalist for the presidencies of Sacramento’s American River College last year and South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash., in 2012.

The league is a nonprofit overseeing 72 community college districts and about 2.5 million students in California. It provides leadership development, advocacy, policy guidance development and district services to those districts.

Galizio is from California and started his postsecondary education at Santa Barbara City College.

“Santa Barbara City College was the catalyst for what I do,” he said. “That’s what got me into my profession. It was a transformative experience for me in education.”

After attending Santa Barbara, Galizio transferred to the University of California, Berkley, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology. He earned a master’s degree in communication from San Francisco State University, where he said he saw an advertisement for a job at Portland Community College leading its speech and debate program, an interest of his.

“I was leaving grad school, so I needed a job,” Galizio said, adding that Portland seemed like a nice city. He worked at PCC from 1993 to 2009, before taking a job as director of strategic planning for the Oregon University System from 2009 to 2010.

Galizio said the job in California offers the unique opportunity for him to use his experience from the academic and legislative world.

After his debate program at PCC was cut in 2004 because of budget constraints, Galizio ran for the Oregon Legislature to advocate for public postsecondary education, serving three terms in the state House representing the Tigard area. During that same time frame, he earned a Ph.D. in urban and public affairs from Portland State University.

Galizio was hired as president of Clatsop Community College by its board of directors in July 2010. During his time with the college, he has overseen a raft of cuts to the full-time faculty, along with the Jerome Campus Redevelopment Project and a recently passed bond measure to fund the Patriot Hall Redevelopment.

“It was very difficult,” Galizio said of the staff cuts in his first couple of years at CCC. “It was extraordinarily difficult. But you have to try and create a sustainable enterprise.”

Galizio said he is excited about the near and long-term future of CCC, between the Patriot Hall Redevelopment and the relatively improved funding situation.

“The new honors program has picked up steam, and we’ll have new programs with Patriot Hall,” Galizio said.

A year ago, the Clatsop Community College Board of Directors approved the new honors program championed by Galizio as a way to improve the college’s academic prowess for new students. With the redevelopment of the 93-year-old Patriot Hall, Galizio has said the college will add paramedic and exercise physiology degree programs, along with a substance abuse counselor certificate.

Moving with Galizio to California will be his wife Janice O’Malley Galizio, the special projects manager for the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department; 6-year-old son Giovanni; and 3-year-old twins Carmella and Matteo.

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