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PAC President announces she will retire August 31

Guzman and Cortez
Dr. Guzman poses during Celebración 2012 with former PAC Student Government Officer Philip Cortez, who became a San Antonio City Councilman.

Dr. Ana M. “Cha” Guzmán, who has served as President of Palo Alto College since August 2001, will retire on Aug. 31.  She announced her intentions during a Town Hall on March 21.

She said she determined the time was right because she had accomplished several long-term goals.

The Reaffirmation of Accreditation Visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools produced only one recommendation related to college operations.  “SACS said they could tell we are a high-performing team,” she said during the Town Hall announcement.

She said she was in charge of building $80 million of buildings on this college.  “It has been the most exciting time to be a college president,” she said.  “All the presidents of the Alamo Colleges received a gift (of $450 million bond issue building funds) and really influenced higher education in San Antonio.”

She particularly highlighted the Performing Arts Center.  “It is the best 400-seat venue in the city.  People want to use it because they hear how well the music sounds.”

Guzman said there were two things she wanted when she became familiar with Palo Alto College – the 35 acres of land owned by Zachry next to PAC and the widening of Villaret Blvd.

She approached Mr. Zachry and convinced him not to sell to a land developer who wanted to build low-income housing.  She courted Philip Cortez, who had been in PAC’s Student Government before she arrived, but who was a City Councilman during her tenure.  She convinced him to designate $1 million from his Council funds to widen the street, then she worked with Ray Perez and Rey Saldana to eventually get the project included in the May 2012 City Bond package.  “There will be four lanes with an island from Hwy 16 to Jennifer with lights.”

She lauded what PAC has become – faculty with strong chairs, strong deans and strong vice presidents.

“Thank you very much for giving me 11 wonderful years,” she said.

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