WHITTIER – More than 300 members of the Rio Hondo College community joined together on May 9 to celebrate Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss, who will retire June 30 after more than 32 years of service.
The retirement celebration, held at the Doubletree Inn in Uptown Whittier, featured lauds for Dreyfuss from local officials, state legislators and national officials for her many contributions to the college, including its two-year guarantee of free tuition for first-time, full-time students, a four-year Bachelor of Science degree and creation of a strong fiscal foundation. The event was also attended by members of Dreyfuss’ family, area K-12 school district superintendents and presidents of other California community college campuses.
Dreyfuss, the ninth superintendent/president of Rio Hondo College, is an immigrant from Taiwan who started at the College as a part-time faculty member. She worked her way into the presidency, serving along the way as a senior accountant, business manager, controller/business manager, chief financial officer and vice president of finance and business.
“I started at the very bottom with many obstacles to overcome,” Dreyfuss told the assembled guests. “I moved up to my leadership position with a lot of hard work and persistence, step by step, always striving to do my best in every position I had, including when I was a part-time faculty member.”
Dreyfuss thanked members of the community, including her faculty, staff, administrators and the Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees.
“I appreciate both the good and the bad times while working at Rio Hondo College, in different roles and capacities, as this path granted me with the opportunity to learn and grow,” she said. “I am grateful to Rio Hondo College for making my American Dream come true as an immigrant and as a professional in higher education.”
Dreyfuss was presented with proclamations, certificates and resolutions from representatives of U.S. Reps. Linda Sanchez, Grace Napolitano, Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, and State Sen. Bob Archuleta, as well as from officials on the El Monte, Industry, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte and Whittier City Councils.
In addition, Dreyfuss received presentations from El Monte Union High School District, El Rancho Unified School District, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, Little Lake City School District, Mountain View School District, South Whittier School District, Valle Lindo School District and Whittier Union High School District, and Mt. San Antonio College. In addition, the Whittier Chamber of Commerce also provided a commendation for Dreyfuss.
Rio Hondo College Trustee Norma Edith Garcia thanked Dreyfuss for her dedication to the College.
“When Rio Hondo College thrives, our students and communities thrive,” Garcia said.