news 3 days ago

Miramar College hires new president via Zoom

The San Diego Union-Tribune — Gary Robbins The San Diego Union-Tribune

May 23--P. Wesley Lundburg, a veteran educator who also has served in the Coast Guard and as an Alaskan fisherman, has been named president of Miramar College in Mira Mesa, effective July 1.

The San Diego-native was interviewed and hired via the Zoom teleconferencing system, making him one of the first college presidents to be chosen that way since the start of the novel coronavirus crisis.

The 57-year-old Lundburg has been serving as executive dean and CEO of the Ammerman campus of Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, New York. The school has 17,000 credit and non-credit students, making it roughly the same size as Miramar College.

Earlier in his career, he served as dean of the New Bedford campus of Bristol Community College in Massachusetts, and as interim president of Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, Alaska.

Lundburg also worked part-time as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, going after halibut and silver salmon. And he served 4.5 years in the Coast Guard, working out of Cape Canavera, Florida. He was on duty in January 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.

He earned an associate degree from Fresno City College and a master's degree in English literature at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.

"I grew up in Penasquitos and never wanted to leave San Diego," Lundburg told the Union-Tribune. "My parents took a job in Fresno when I was a junior in high school. I didn't have a choice in the matter. I've wanted to come back and when the position at Miramar came open, I applied."

Lundburg said the process of interviewing for the job on Zoom "was different, for sure, but it is part of the way we're living right now. I was able to do interviews from my own office, which is familiar territory and maybe a bit more relaxing."

He will be stepping into a difficult situation. Like other schools, Miramar College had to make a sudden shift to mostly online courses due to the coronavirus, and is preparing to operate mostly online this fall. The change has cost the college millions. And Gov. Gavin Newsom has indicated that he may reduce support to the state's community colleges.

"I was not surprised or shocked when I was brought up to speed on the budget challenges," Lundburg said. "You just have to roll up your sleeves and figure it out."

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