Thomas Fallo era ends at El Camino College
El Camino College President Thomas Fallo, who shepherded the school through its first two large bond measures and the rescue of a foundering Compton Community College, will retire at the end of January 2016.
A replacement is expected to be hired by mid-October, according to a timeline adopted by the college’s trustees.
During Fallo’s two-decade tenure, the college district persuaded voters to approve two bond measures, totaling $744 million, to modernize the campus.
By the time he steps down, Fallo will have seen the opening of three completely new instructional buildings, and a new campus entrance at Redondo Beach Boulevard.
Other improvements include renovated instructional buildings, a new 1,230-space parking structure, a central energy facility, new athletic facilities and a new Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Center. This year will see the grand opening of the Center for Applied Technology and a renovated Industry and Technology Education Center.
When the Compton Community College District saw its accreditation revoked amid a mismanagement and financial scandal, Fallo led an ongoing effort to operate the Compton campus until it can be returned to local control.
Fallo has been honored as the prestigious Pacesetter of the Year, awarded by the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations, recognizing outstanding leadership of chief executive officers at two-year community, junior or technical college.
Fallo was on vacation and unavailable for comment. El Camino board President Bill Beverly described Fallo’s leadership style as solid and clear-headed, never flashy.
“He was always clear about what his goals were, and clear about how to get there,” Beverly said. “He anticipated funding issues, and what the state [education system] and the state Legislature were going to do. He had a plan, a backup plan, and a backup for his backup plan.
“He was like a wagon train leader.”
The El Camino alumnus became El Camino College’s fifth president when he took office in July 1995. His presidency focused on the college’s fiscal future, while guiding the Torrance-area campus through a period of unprecedented growth. Through his leadership, the college established an annual scholarship program, which now provides more than $1.4 million annually, in scholarships.“Over the past quarter century, Dr. Fallo’s leadership has kept the college financially sound through a period of campus physical development, as well as during challenging economic times,” Beverly said.Fallo will have hired more than 330 full-time faculty members at El Camino College and ECC Compton Center, in addition to 84 managers and 452 staff members.
Beverly said Fallo’s replacement will have to deal with the continuing change in state mandates, and a “constant influx of unprepared students” arriving at the 25,000-student campus in Torrance. The next college president will also continue to manage Fallo’s ongoing school-bond construction and the Compton campus project.
And Beverly thinks Fallo’s successor will likely have to replace some El Camino vice presidents, who might retire or become presidents of other colleges.
One of those replacements already has been made, with the recent hiring of Jean Marie Shankweiler as vice president of academic affairs, to replace the retiring Francisco Arce.
In 2013, Fallo received a much-discussed $40,000 raise to his $277,000 salary. Beverly successfully inserted a contract clause requiring Fallo to refund the raise if he did not stay in the job for three additional years, which he will by his retirement date. ER