Merced College President Benjamin T. Duran will retire at the end of the academic year, he announced Tuesday.
“I have contemplated this move for the last year or so but could never find the right time to make this life changing decision,” Duran said. “ … After reflecting on this and talking with my family for the last few months I came to the conclusion that there is never a right time to make a decision to retire from a profession that has consumed the better part of my adult life and has defined me as a person. Even with that, I have made this very difficult and emotional decision.”
Duran has led the Merced Community College District since 1998. He has served as an educator in Merced County for 40 years, beginning as a high school teacher in Le Grand, then assuming the role of vice principal of Le Grand High School from 1976 to 1980.
Duran then became the assistant director of Merced County's migrant education program before returning to Le Grand as superintendent of schools, a position he held from 1983 through 1991. Duran joined Merced College shortly thereafter, as vice president for Administrative Services.
During his tenure at Merced College, Duran has served on myriad boards and commissions, from the Hewlett/Irvine Foundation Task Force on Basic Skills Development, to the Greater Merced High- Speed Rail Committee, the Merced County Regional Arts Council, the Mercy Medical Center Board of Directors, and the Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. He also served as president of the California Community Colleges Chief Executive Officers Board of Directors and president of the CCC Economic and Workforce Development Program Advisory Committee.
“I was blessed and humbled to have been given the opportunity to lead the College as Superintendent/President 13 years ago,” Duran said. “My entire tenure at Merced College has been more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. I am proud to be associated with one of the best community colleges in the state.”
The MCCD is expected to launch a nationwide search for Duran's successor, per Board President Les McCabe. The board has requested a presentation on options for the search during its regularly scheduled Nov. 1 meeting.
“We’re going to begin discussing this process with our attorneys,” McCabe said. “One of the things we’ll have to determine is whether to hire a so-called 'head-hunting firm' to assist us.”