Steve Collins started Tuesday as interim president at Modesto Junior College, returning to a school where he began working in 1963.
Collins will oversee MJC while the search resumes for a permanent president. That process was suspended last week by Chancellor Henry Yong of the Yosemite Community College District, who declined to choose from the two finalists.
Collins is well-known at MJC. He enrolled there as a student in 1957 and returned several years later to teach speech and forensics. He later became an administrator and retired in 2001 as vice president of instruction.
During retirement, Collins was an interim dean and interim vice president at MJC. He also served on the Modesto City Schools board.
“Mr. Collins is a seasoned executive leader who has graciously answered the call to serve once again,” Yong said in a news release.
The district board will consider formal approval of Collins at its August meeting. The search for a permanent president will resume in the fall.
The post was vacated when Jill Stearns left after six years to become president of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
The previous finalists to succeed Stearns were Albert Alt, vice president of college and administrative services at MJC, and Kimberlee Messina, vice chancellor of educational services and planning at San Mateo Community College District.
Yong said in an internal announcement that MJC is “best served” by restarting the recruitment. He has not elaborated on the decision.