Dr. Mark Rocha was appointed Superintendent/President of Pasadena City College on July 1, 2010. During his tenure, the college has approved a new Educational Master Plan that will establish PCC as a truly global community college for the 21st century. Along with an extraordinary faculty and staff, Dr. Rocha has positioned Pasadena City College for an ambitious program to close the "graduation gap", the difference in the graduation rate between those who come to PCC college-prepared and those who do not. PCC was recently recognized for its efforts to close this achievement gap, winning the 2012 State Chancellor's Award for Student Success for its innovative First Year Experience Pathways Program that has significantly increased student retention and persistence and has grown to serve over 1,500 students. "Our faculty, staff and managers are the best and they are carrying on our ninety year Heritage of Excellence", says Dr. Rocha.
Under Dr. Rocha's leadership, the PCC Foundation has raised over $7 million in private donations for student scholarships and has been awarded over $26 million in external grants. In the fall 2013, PCC offered more class sections to students than at any time in the college's history. On Dr. Rocha's watch associate degrees in STEM fields have more than doubled. Of the 2,000 community colleges in the United States, PCC is in the top 100 in every category for associate degrees awarded, and is ranked 35th in the United States for degrees awarded to minority students. In 2013, PCC was also ranked eighth in the nation as a "Veterans Friendly College" among all community colleges.
"I'm for the little guy," Dr. Rocha says. "I grew up in the South Bronx and both of my parents dropped out of high school. But they saw to it I went college. The American Dream is real to me. It's still alive and well in our community colleges."
Among other recent transformational changes are the conversion to an entirely new college computer system and the completion of the Center for the Arts, the capstone project of a $175 million bond construction program.
Dr. Rocha came to Pasadena City College from the Los Angeles Community College District where he served as president of West Los Angeles College. Under Dr. Rocha's leadership, West Los Angeles College was recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the nation's "Great Colleges to Work For."
Among his current service commitments, Dr. Rocha serves as a member of the Board of Councilors of the Rossier School of Education of the University of Southern California; and as a member of the Board of the Pasadena Biotechnology Collaborative. Dr. Rocha is also an adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge, where he teaches in the doctoral program in Educational and Leadership Policy Studies.
An English teacher by training, Dr. Rocha received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California, his master's degree from California State University, Fullerton, and his bachelor's degree from Villanova University. His scholarly work is in the field of American drama and theater and includes numerous articles on the playwright August Wilson. In 1994, Dr. Rocha was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and taught for a year in Caracas, Venezuela at the Universidad Simòn Bolìvar.
Dr. Rocha has two adult sons, Brendan and Samuel. He resides in Pasadena with his wife Nancy. An avid runner, Dr. Rocha has completed seven marathons, including the inaugural Pasadena Marathon in 2009.