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Jack Scott, state community colleges chancellor, to retire Sept. 1

March 6, 2012 | 12:25 pm

Jack Scott, a veteran and popular educator who has headed the state’s community college system during a period of brutal budget cuts and was often a voice decrying the impact on low-income students, announced Tuesday that he would retire as chancellor overseeing the 112 campuses. Scott, who is 78, said his retirement will be effective Sept. 1.

Scott became chancellor of the loosely knit community college system in January 2009 after a long career as a Democratic politician and college campus leader. He served in the state Legislature in both the Senate and the Assembly representing the Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank areas for 12 years until 2000, and he previously was president of Pasadena City College and Cypress College.

In a statement released Tuesday, Scott mentioned the state budget cuts that have led to reduced course offerings and long waiting lists for students to get into the classes they need. “It is true that it has been a tough time for community colleges because of the financial difficulties of the state of California,” he said. But he added that he was proud to have represented the colleges before the Legislature and many other audiences.

Among his accomplishments was a streamlining of the transfer process, making it easier for graduates of the two-year-schools to move on to four-year universities.

Scott Himelstein, president of the community colleges board of governors, praised Scott and thanked him for his leadership. “Chancellor Scott’s passion and commitment to community colleges will be evident in the success of our colleges for generations to come.” He said the search for a successor to Scott would start immediately.

-- Larry Gordon