Meet LMC’s Interim President

Plans to continue advancing LMC’s student success

Jaden Fortier, Staff Writer

With former LMC President Bob Kratochvil retiring from the community college last fall, LMC has transitioned into a new era in the school’s history. This new era will be kicked off by Dr. Pamela Ralston, who is LMC’s Interim President for the next six months while the college and district work to find a permanent signee for the position.

As an interim, Ralston’s role is a little bit different than one she would have in a permanent role.

“I need to be here to help maintain the work that he [Kratochvil] was leading in the fall,” Ralston said, adding that “another part of it is exciting where I can see what’s working well, and what else we can do to get everything else working well.”

Ralston doesn’t need anything to slip through the cracks before LMC brings on the permanent president, and sees herself as “the bridge between Kratochvil and the future president,” she said.

Since she was first brought in on Dec. 29 of last year, Ralston said she hasn’t had many bumps or struggles in her transition to LMC.

“The only hard thing is making sure that we haven’t lost track of anything that was important,” said Ralston.

Students, faculty, leaders and managers have all met with Ralston as she gets acclimated with an entirely new group of people, which Ralston said has been delightful.

“People have been really friendly and open,” said Ralston.

While Ralston is new to LMC and new to the East Bay as a whole, she is not new to being the president of a community college. Before being hired by LMC, Ralston worked at Santiago Canyon College, a community college in Orange County, California. From that experience, Ralston said she was able to learn some things that can help aid her in her time here.

“My takeaway from my last year and my work here has been, ‘what are the best ways we could work with the district office and how do we work with our sister colleges?’,” said Ralston, adding that she has been learning a lot about that and is thrilled to work with Mojdah Mehdizadeh, who is Interim Chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District.

When it comes to what drew Ralston to LMC, there were two things that played a major role in her wanting to be here. As mentioned, she was thrilled to be able to work with Mehdizadeh, as she was really interested in what the leadership was like at a district level. 

Another factor in her decision was LMC’s dedication to student success, specifically for those that come from underprivileged and minority backgrounds. Community colleges that are exceptional in helping students in those situations are nominated by the Aspen Institute and are eligible to win the $1 million Aspen Prize, and Ralston noticed how LMC was consistently nominated.

“To get nominated four times is amazing,” said Ralston, as she found it particularly successful for a smaller community college to accomplish that.

During her time here, Ralston wants students and faculty to know about her dedication in working at a community college.

“I am deeply committed to the project of making an academic community open to everyone who wants to learn,” said Ralston.

“There is no more important work than working at a community college at every level, it’s the most important thing I have ever done.”