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Columbia President Picked To Lead MJC

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Modesto, CA — Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, Columbia College’s President since July of 2018, is moving over to lead Modesto Junior College.

Bandyopadhyay has been serving as interim MJC President following the January resignation of former President Jim Houpis. The interim tag will be dropped, effective June 1st. The decision was made by the Yosemite Community District Board of Directors at its meeting earlier this week. YCCD oversees both Columbia College and MJC.

YCCD Chancellor Henry Yong says, “Dr. Bandyopadhyay will be a great fit for Modesto Junior College. He is an extraordinary leader who possesses a strategic vision coupled with a strong background in higher education and research to lead MJC into the future.”

The district reports that together MJC and Columbia serve more than 25,000 students. About 22,000 of them attend classes at MJC’s East and West campuses in Modesto.

Bandyopadhyay states, “My short-term priority is to re-open the campus — paying particular attention to equity — build the enrollments we have lost during the pandemic, develop centers of excellence to cater to the need of our local businesses and ensure long-term fiscal stability.”

Adding, “The effect of the pandemic was most severe on students who need us the most — therefore, an equity-focused recovery is critical for long-term economic growth of the region. Developing a deep connection with local businesses and partnering with them to understand and satisfy their needs in innovative ways continues to remain our priority.”

Dr. GH Javaheripour is currently serving as interim President for Columbia College. In March 2020, Javaheripour was hired to be the YCCD’s Vice Chancellor of Educational Support Services, overseeing IT, HR, and Institutional Effectiveness, Planning and Accreditation at the district level. Prior to that role, he served for five years as the President of Yuba College.

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