Higher Education and Human Resources

College appoints president

January 12, 2016
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Jorge Gonzalez
Jorge Gonzalez. Courtesy Kalamazoo College

An academic leader in California will become the 18th president of a college in the region this summer.

The Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees announced today that it has selected Jorge Gonzalez to lead the academic institution, effective July 1.

He will fill the position vacated by Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, who is retiring.

The appointment

Gonzalez serves as the VP of Academic Affairs and dean at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

“I feel my life has been a preparation for this incredible opportunity to advance the liberal arts and the K-Plan,” Gonzalez said. “Kalamazoo College’s mission is a perfect match with my deeply held belief in the learning values and the life values of experiential education and international education.”

After Wilson-Oyelaran announced her retirement plans last April, Kalamazoo College formed a presidential search committee to find its next leader.

Charlotte Hall, board chair and a member of the search committee, said the board’s excitement is boundless, and the vote on Gonzalez was unanimous.

“Gonzalez is a passionate champion of the liberal arts and has an abiding commitment to the values embodied in the K-Plan,” Hall said. “Through all of his work, he has sought to make that powerful combination better and more accessible to diverse groups of students.”

Higher education career

Since joining Occidental College in 2010, Gonzalez has helped create and support experiential learning programs designed to engage students in the world using their liberal arts education.

Previously, Gonzalez spent more than 20 years at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and served as a professor of economics and special assistant to the president.

Gonzalez has also organized summer travel-study programs throughout Europe and Vietnam, student internships in Spain, a partnership between Tec de Monterrey in Mexico and Trinity University and a Languages Across the Curriculum program.

He has been recognized with Trinity University’s Dr. and Mrs. Z.T. Scott Faculty Fellowship award, an ACE Fellowship by the American Council on Education and served as the president of the International Trade and Finance Association.

He holds a B.A. degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in economics and a Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University.

Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo College was established in 1833 as The Michigan and Huron Institute, before changing its name in 1855.

The college has an enrollment of roughly 1,450 students from roughly 40 states and 34 countries.

The institution has more than 100 full-time faculty members, a student-faculty ratio of 13:1 and emphasizes experiential learning in both domestic and international settings. 

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