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Mitsui to take reins as new PCC president on Aug. 29

Leader will leave Obama post to fill yearlong vacancy


COURTESY: PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Mark Mitsui will lead Portland Community College, the largest institute of higher education in the state. The board of directors for Portland Community College selected Mark Mitsui as its next president in late July.

“The board of directors was tremendously impressed by President Mitsui’s passion for the transformative power of community colleges, and by his clear understanding of PCC’s complex environment,” said Gene Pitts, PCC Board of Directors chair, in a statement.

Mitsui’s July 21 selection ends more than a yearlong search for a permanent replacement for previous president Jeremy Brown, with whom the board separated abruptly in May 2015.

Mitsui currently serves in the Obama administration’s U.S. Department of Education as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges within the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

He also has ties to the Pacific Northwest, as a past president of North Seattle College, from 2010 to 2013. There, Mitsui led a strategic planning process during the Great Recession for a student body of about 7,000. As the largest institute of higher learning in Oregon, Portland Community College is quite a bit bigger, with 85,000 full- and part-time students across four campuses and many other education sites.

Mitsui, 58, was one of three finalists for the position.

He will begin Aug. 29, replacing interim president Sylvia Kelley, who will continue as executive vice president.

Mitsui said he was drawn to education by the power to change lives. He currently co-leads the My Brother’s Keeper Postsecondary Completion team, which aims to help young men of color access and complete college.

“Community colleges play a key role in widening the passage to equality,” Mitsui said in a recent speech to the college.

Mitsui was the founding chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities and received the Rhonda Quash Coates Award for contributions to the Multicultural Student Services Directors Council of Washington state.

Mitsui said he looks forward to collaboration and teamwork during his tenure.

“I have a sign in my office that reads, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,’” he said in a statement. “I am excited to go far together with my colleagues at PCC, on behalf of the institution and the students we serve.”