COSTA MESA, Calif. (May 4, 2020) – Just three months after announcing his arrival as chancellor, California Southern University has appointed Glenn Roquemore, Ph.D., to university president. The 28-year veteran of higher education and Irvine, Calif., resident served as president of Irvine Valley College (IVC) from 2002 to 2019 and will now lead CalSouthern’s day-to-day operations including the creation of strategic partnerships with public, private and nonprofit institutions in Southern California and beyond.
Roquemore’s ascension to the top position at the 42-year-old, 100% online university was announced today by J. Ramon Villanueva, chairman of the CalSouthern board of directors. He replaces Gwen Finestone, Ph.D., who has served as university president since 2018.
Roquemore will continue to work with senior university leadership to ensure academic program quality and effectiveness; a culture of compliance; full resource utilization in accordance with federal, state and local regulations; and university and sponsoring agency policies, procedures and accreditation requirements.
He will also assist deans, academic and institutional officers from CalSouthern’s five schools in academic policy, planning and business affairs; faculty, student and staff affairs; legislative policy; institutional research; capital planning; and university and community relations and development.
“It’s rare that a senior leader fits so seamlessly and so quickly into an organization with more than four decades of tradition and culture, and this is especially true at a university like CalSouthern with a healthy diversity of academic programs, opinions, research and teaching styles,” said Villanueva. “However, within weeks of Dr. Roquemore’s arrival in January 2020, and amid the unprecedented circumstances of the past several months, it became clear that his true calling is to lead as a university president – and his lifetime of experience and contributions can best be realized if he assumes the top position.”
According to Villanueva, Dr. Roquemore will now direct all elements of a university-wide renaissance designed to take California Southern University to the next academic and enrollment level. The first piece of that plan was completed earlier this year with the soft launch of a comprehensive new website that provides learners, alumni and the extended university community with a best-in-class online portal to CalSouthern’s schools of Behavioral Science, Business and Management, Criminology and Criminal Science, Education, and Nursing.
A public, celebratory launch of the new site at www.calsouthern.edu will take place later this year. Also part of the plan are brand- and school-development initiatives, and paid and earned media programs designed to highlight CalSouthern’s world-class faculty and alumni situated around the world.
“Dr. Roquemore combines a grounding in all facets of educational leadership from his time at Irvine Valley College, one of the region’s most respected community colleges, with an impressive record as a faculty member at some of the most diverse University of California and California State University campuses,” Villanueva said. “This background will help us continue to build the university’s academic reputation both locally and internationally.”
A pioneer in distance learning, CalSouthern has produced thousands of advanced-degree graduates since its founding in 1978. The regionally accredited university was one of the first to apply an outcomes-based, active self-learning approach that combines 100% online programs and monthly class-starts with a personal touch highlighted by one-to-one mentoring.
CalSouthern remains singularly committed to helping working professionals supplement their education to meet their personal and professional goals. From a handful of business degrees in the 1980s, the CalSouthern curriculum has expanded to 29 certificate programs and associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology, business, nursing, education and criminal justice.
“I’m honored to take an even larger role implementing the California Southern University mission to reach more enterprising adults who need an undergraduate or graduate degree but have been held back by finances, geographic isolation, job and family concerns or other perceived barriers,” Roquemore said. “CalSouthern has a special purpose – and I’m delighted to be able to lead the team that is making good on that promise.”
Roquemore joined IVC in 1991 as faculty chair of the Department of Geological Sciences and, in this capacity, led the college’s geology and oceanography programs. He was responsible for lecture, lab, field study, and technical training.
In 1998, he became IVC’s interim vice president of instruction, expanding his commitment beyond the classroom to include distance learning and working with program heads and department chairs to effectively measure institutional effectiveness, student performance, retention, and satisfaction. He developed annual institutional budgets, supervised regular and summer term college catalog and course offerings, and managed enrollment to meet strict budgetary requirements.
It was also during this time that Roquemore helped create a campus conducive to learning, compliance and integrity, and actively promoted excellence in faculty teaching, service and professional development.
Roquemore served as interim IVC vice president of student services in 1999, before becoming dean of advanced technology in 2000, ultimately increasing distance learning course offerings by 50%. He was elevated to vice president of instruction and interim provost of the college’s Advanced Technology and Education Park (ATEP) before becoming IVC president in 2002.
As president of IVC, Roquemore ensured the institutional and fiscal health of the college through shrewd resource allocation, personnel management and budget strategy – with a continual focus on student recruitment, retention and completion. He balanced the IVC budget for each of the 18 years he served in the college’s top role.
Roquemore’s lifelong commitment to education has included faculty, professor and lecturer positions at the University of California, Irvine; University of California, Riverside; California State University, Northridge; California State University, Fresno; Cerro Coso Community College; Santiago Canyon College; and Santa Ana College, as well as Irvine Valley College.
He has completed various research projects on behalf of the University of Nevada and, from 1974 to 1988, conducted research as a geologist and geophysicist for Michelson Laboratories at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake – most recently as head of the Applied Geoscience Research Office.
He has also held senior positions with business and professional organizations at the local, state and national level including the Orange County Business Council; Community College League of California; Association of Community College Trustees; Educational Services Advisory Committee; American Association of Community Colleges; Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges; and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, among others.
Roquemore has received dozens of local, state, and national leadership and service awards, including a number associated with the U.S. Army and Department of Defense.
Roquemore is married and lives with his wife and son in Irvine. He will be based at CalSouthern’s global headquarters office in Costa Mesa.
About California Southern University
California Southern University is a regionally accredited university specializing in 100% online programs leading to 29 certificate programs and associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in behavioral sciences, business, nursing, education, and criminal justice. A pioneer in distance learning since 1978, Costa Mesa, California-based CalSouthern applies an outcomes-based, active self-learning approach combining all-online learning, monthly class-starts and world-renowned faculty with a personal touch and one-on-one mentoring. The school targets working professionals and others in need of supplemental education and undergraduate and graduate degrees but challenged by finances, geographic isolation, job, family and other perceived constraints.
The CalSouthern alumni family totals thousands of professionals living and working globally. To learn more, visit www.calsouthern.edu.
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or Justine Houston-Brown
Rocket Science for CalSouthern