While the challenges of overseeing the college may change over the years, President Mark Escamilla’s goal has been constant since he took the reins in 2008: to see every student reap the benefits and grow as a result of their time at Del Mar.
To help accomplish this, Escamilla is working toward a future that includes further expansion of the college and programs it offers.
“I want Del Mar to be an option not because we have to, but because we want to, and to be the first choice,” said Escamilla, himself a Del Mar College graduate.
His dedication to making every issue a priority at DMC has provided him the opportunity to improve the college for students, faculty and staff.
“My No. 1 priority right now is getting through the legislative session, understanding the new funding mechanism from the state and re-establishing from COVID and rebounding in terms of enrollment and practices from the community. Those are my two No. 1 issues,” Escamilla said during a recent interview with the Foghorn News.
After graduating from Del Mar, Escamilla went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree in counseling from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration with a specialization at community college leadership in 2001 from the University of Texas at Austin.
One of the biggest recent challenges Escamilla faced was the sudden move to virtual learning in spring 2020 as campuses were closed for a year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The key to getting through the pandemic, Escamilla said, was to make safety a priority.
“We were safety minded and made the right choices,” he said.
With students now back on campus, there is also a new option for them. The college’s Oso Creek Campus began offering classes this fall as work continues on the southside addition.
“Getting things past the finish line and applying the finishing touches, as well as completing the water feature,” Escamilla said of the work that remains.
Recently, the state association and the state higher education coordinating board acknowledged the tremendous progress that Del Mar College has made in several areas, and they presented the college with two awards in recognition of its efforts.
Escamilla said Del Mar has long been recognized for the excellent work the college has done in the past and will continue to accomplish in the future.
As the current academic term draws to a close, Escamilla urges all students to maintain their safety and health, register early, and to make full use of the many services and funding methods that Del Mar offers.
“Encourage others in the community to come out and check out the facilities. We are updating so many things — wait till you all see the library,” Escamilla said. “We are very proud of our college and the future of Del Mar.”