COALINGA — In recognition of his 23 years of service to the West Hills Community College District, Dr. Frank Gornick has been named Chancellor Emeritus by the WHCCD Board of Trustees.
The honorary title was presented to Gornick on the eve of his retirement after two decades of dedication to the WHCCD. Gornick has served as the district’s Chief Executive Officer since 1994 and retired on June 30.
“It’s been a privilege to work alongside Dr. Frank Gornick for almost 24 years,” said Jeff Levinson, a long-time board member. “His contribution to our college district and communities will not go unnoticed. Frank very much deserves the Chancellor Emeritus title.”
Gornick was hired in 1994 as superintendent-president and transitioned to chancellor when WHCCD became a multi-college district in 2001.
As the leader of WHCCD, he has helped oversee the physical growth of the district including the addition of West Hills College Lemoore and the expansion and revitalization of West Hills College Coalinga.
“I’ve been excited to come to work every morning for nearly 23 years,” Gornick said. “It’s not often that one is provided an opportunity to have a dream job. For me, being the CEO and working with the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, and community leaders was a privilege. The district is in a better place now, and poised for great things in the future because of everyone’s hard work and dedication to student success.”
Awards Gornick has received include the MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award, the Executive of the Year Award from the Public Relations Society of America for college communications, and honors from the California Community College system for best practices in the fields of Diversity, Technology, and Highest Performing Institutions. He was also the recipient of the 2017 Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award from the Association of California Community College Administrators.
Gornick was a Governor’s appointee for higher education on the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and served as past Chair of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium. Additionally, he has served as a public representative for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 2009. He was elected by his peers to serve as Chair of the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges Board.
Gornick is an alumnus of West Hills College Coalinga—known then as Coalinga College—where he received his associate’s degree in 1966. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Sacramento and a Ph.D. from St. Louis University.
Prior to serving as the CEO of the WHCCD, he was Dean of Student Services at Bakersfield College for nine years. He also held college administrative positions in Illinois, Texas and Maryland.
Dr. Stuart Van Horn, former WHCCD vice chancellor of educational services and workforce development, took over as Chancellor on July 1.