SOURCE: Rio Salado

Rio Salado

January 15, 2010 14:16 ET

Dr. Chris Bustamante Named Interim President at Rio Salado College

TEMPE, AZ--(Marketwire - January 15, 2010) - Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper today announced the appointment of Dr. Chris Bustamante as the Interim President of Rio Salado College. Bustamante replaces Dr. Linda Thor, recently named Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, effective Feb. 16, 2010.

The appointment of Bustamante, who has served as the college's Vice President of Community Development and Student Services since 2006, becomes effective upon Dr. Thor's departure.

"Dr. Bustamante is well qualified to assume this prominent position," said Dr. Glasper. "He possesses substantial leadership credentials in education and has an extensive track record of forging partnerships within the community. Specifically, he was instrumental in the collaborative development of the Arizona Communiversity concept, which recently opened its first site -- the Communiversity @ Surprise."

The appointment marks the first change in the college's leadership in two decades. Under Thor's nearly 20-year tenure, the college became nationally acclaimed for its innovations as a leading provider of online learning, as well as for its customized partnerships with business and government entities. "We congratulate President Thor on these and many other accomplishments, and we wish her every success as she transitions to this prestigious new role at one of the nation's premier community college districts," said Glasper.

Bustamante's considerable other successes since joining Rio Salado as Dean of Academic Affairs in 2004 include:

--  Oversight of the largest dual enrollment program in both the Maricopa
    District and all of Arizona, currently serving nearly 7,000 students
    annually through 54 partnering high schools
--  Oversight of  eight major capital projects for Rio Salado, including
    the building of the
    $4 million Adult Learning Center in the City of Avondale
--  The launching of Rio's Adult ACE and Puente ACE Programs that enroll
    more than 150 students annually.
--  Establishment of a partnership with the Phoenix Elementary School
    District to reopen Ann Ott Elementary School as an Adult Learning Center

Prior to his Rio career, Bustamante served the Maricopa Community College District as Director of Government Relations & External Affairs, and also held positions as Director of State Relations and the Associate Director of Government Relations. He began his Maricopa career in 1992.

Prior to working for the MCCCD, Bustamante served as the Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations for the Phoenix Union High School District. Bustamante also served as a Legislative Aide in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1984-1987.

Bustamante was a member of Maricopa's Executive Development Program (2008), the Leadership Fellows Program of the National Community College Hispanic Council (2005), and was appointed by Governor Jane D. Hull to serve on Arizona's Merit Award System Board and served as its Chairman (2002-2004). He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Experience Matters, as Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base (Alumnus), as an Advisory member for the REF Fund, Arizona Community Foundation, and as a Board member for the Be A Leader Foundation. He is a former member of the Task Force for the National State Relations Conference (Chair, 2004). Bustamante also served as the community college presidents' staff liaison to the Governor's Task Force on Higher Education (2000).

Bustamante received his Doctorate and Master's degrees in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University (NAU). He also attended Pima Community College and Harvard University, and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1983 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration/Finance. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for NAU in the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Program/Maricopa cohort.

About Rio Salado College

Rio Salado, founded in 1978, is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona. The college serves more than 60,000 students annually, more than half online, making it the "college within everyone's reach." Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs. For more information, visit

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