MJC picks interim president

Ken White will fill in as Modesto Junior College's president through the end of the school year.

White's appointment as acting president follows the abrupt departure of Richard Rose, who had served in the top spot since 2006. Though Rose's contract ran through June, he was asked to leave early. His last day was Monday.

White is MJC's dean of business, behavioral and social sciences. His interim appointment was approved Monday by MJC's governing body, the Yosemite Community College District board of trustees, on a 6-0 vote. Trustee Abe Rojas was absent.

White will begin his new duties today.

"In thinking about identifying an acting president, I felt it necessary to identify someone who is familiar with the opportunities and challenges faced by the college and who will address them in a collegial manner. Further, I wanted someone with both vast community college experience and substantial experience within Modesto Junior College," YCCD Chancellor Roe Darnell said in an e-mail to staff Monday.

White has more than 30 years of community college experience and has been at MJC since 1996. He has worked in community colleges in three states as a professor, academic dean and chief instructional officer.

White was president of Columbia College from 1992 to 1996.

Darnell wanted an interim president who was not interested in the full-time job, and White has agreed not to apply for it. Darnell said he didn't want a fill-in making politically motivated decisions as an audition for the permanent post.

By asking Rose to leave early, the district has to pay the remainder of his contract, about $100,000. White's salary will be bumped up about $3,400 a month to the beginning salary range of the president -- $14,612 per month or $175,344 annually.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at or 578-2339. Read Hatfield's education blog at