LMC Begins New Chapter


Irvin Trigueros

President Bob Kratochvil speaks to the LMC community at opening day on Aug. 17.

The LMC campus was in a buzz on the morning of August 16 as classified and un-classified staff gathered in the music corridor to mingle with the new college president before entering the Recital Hall for the bi-annual opening day ceremony that started at 9 a.m.

This event provided President Bob Kratochvil the opportunity to address his employees as a whole for the first time since taking the reins this summer back on July 1.

The energy was high as Kratochvil stepped to the podium to share with his staff how happy he is to be a new member of the LMC family.

Kratochvil commended Richard Livingston, senior dean of instruction, for his hard work and dedication as interim president for the past two years. The audience responded to the praise with a standing ovation for Livingston’s leadership and service.

Kratochvil also thanked those employees who worked during the summer months and welcomed back faculty who had been on summer break. He said he is excited about the upcoming 2012-2013 school year he intends to work closely with staff to implement changes.

Kratochvil explained in brief his work history, mostly in Southern California at the state college level before taking his former position at Los Positas community college, in Livermore, as vice president of administration services. As part of his transition to his new community he said he plans to meet with everyone individually over the next few months.

“One is just having communication with people,” explained Kratochvil during an interview on August 24. “I think it’s a good thing that they can tell me what they are doing at the campus, and I’m also asking people what they think the issues are and what are the highest priorities for the new president to deal with.”

He also said this strategy allows people to have their voices heard because some may not speak up in college assemblies and larger campus meetings.

“One of the things that I’ve learned over time,” said Kratochvil. “Is if you and I are talking, you’re probably going to confide in me things that maybe you wouldn’t in a group setting,” Beyond his formal remarks the new president took the opportunity to share with the audience a little about himself, like his principal values of love, collaboration, communication and engagement.

Kratochvil showed slides of his family – he has a wife and two sons, and a menagerie of pets – and displayed a sense of humor cracking jokes along the way. He was deadpan in explaining the reason he is standing under a low-lying tree in his family portrait is to hide his receding hairline.

All College Day’s busy agenda included a visit by Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Helen Benjamin, who was there to introduce Kratochvil ,but before she did she had a few encouraging words for the faculty and to talk about LMC’s success despite the gloomy state budget cuts to education.

“There is very clear evidence that this college is moving forward,” Benjamin said “You have done and are doing amazing work in securing grants in focusing on equity and completion.”

Benjamin said that with having an attitude of resolve that the faculty can control their destiny with everyday actions and not having a blasé attitude of what is going to happen will happen.

“It is obvious to me that we believe in self-efficacy, the idea that we have a measure of control over what happens to us and that approach continues to be critical to our success,” said Benjamin.

A highlight of the morning event was when United Faculty President Jeffrey Michels took his turn to address the LMC community with a playful poem he wrote to welcome Kratochvil to his new role and to the realities of the tight education budget he must deal with.

An excerpt:

But now that you’re unpacked and on task

On behalf of those assembled, I’ve been deputized to ask,

Is it true you’re a painter? ‘Cause our walls are peeling. And do you own a ladder? Will you do the ceiling?

We’re short on substitutes. You can teach, right? And we’re hoping you’ll stay late and lock up at night.

They say you’re a doctor; I need medication. And so much to write. Do you take dictation?

We need new computers; are you a programmer? Our lecterns are broken. Can you use a hammer?

Our counseling department is just overtaxed. If you’d fill in on Fridays they’d feel more relaxed….”

The ceremony wound up with formal recognition of those who have recently retired and those who have achieved milestone markers of 10, 15, 20 and even 40 years of service at LMC or in the district.

Among these long-timers who retired over the summer are Gil Rodriguez, Dean of Liberal Arts and Science a former math instructor who served LMC for 35 years; Pat Wagner who taught math for 24 years, and Vice President Bruce Cutler, who put in 22 years and also served as business manager.

Appliance instructor Len Price was also recognized for his 40 years of service “and still counting.”

Following a hearty applause, Price took to the podium, and while, some in the crowd may have expected him to give a date for retirement, instead he announced, “I will retire when I quit having fun.”