The Joliet Junior College community recently celebrated the investiture of Dr. Clyne G. H. Namuo as the 10th president of the college. Following a national search, Dr. Namuo’s selection was announced by the Board of Trustees in April 2022, and he assumed the role as president July 1, 2022.
An investiture ceremony is rich in tradition and protocol and is among the oldest traditions in academia. The transference of a college president’s authority is a rare event where colleges and universities have the opportunity to welcome new leadership and celebrate the pursuit of knowledge.
During his address, Namuo acknowledged the college’s legacy as the nation’s first public community college. He also noted the evolving role of higher education in modern society, noting the significance of his role as president at the nation’s first public community college: Joliet Junior College.
“I am so honored to serve as the president of the nation’s first community college; that significance is not lost on me,” Namuo stated. “I intend to honor its history and the energy that you all have as champions of JJC; and I intend to honor the privilege the board has bestowed upon me as its 10th president.”
The occasion was further accentuated by the attendance of former presidents J.D. Ross and Dr. Judy Mitchell. President Emeritus Ross and President Emerita Mitchell symbolically flanked Namuo during the procession, ushering in a new era of leadership supported by the legacy that preceded him.
“The board chose you because they believe that you are the right person to build on (Dr. Mitchell’s) legacy of excellence and to prepare future generations for what is to come,” remarked Ross. “I came to the same conclusion as the board based on my time with you at a candidate’s dinner. My positive reaction to your candidacy and subsequent selection has only been reinforced with every interaction we have had since your arrival.”
In his address to the audience, Namuo highlighted his vision and initiatives for the college, which include a district-wide dual credit program, the Namuo family endowed scholarship for first-generation college students and a JJC community storytelling campaign intended to inspire the next generation of students.
“Here is my commitment to you. That we collaboratively craft and implement a shared vision for the future of JJC and we will do big things together. I have no interest in mediocrity or the status quo. When all is said and done we’re judged on the impact we have on the world. So, my commitment to you is that you will have all of me. My hope is that you will join me to ensure that JJC maintains and solidifies its legacy as not only the first but as the very best community college in the country.”
Dr. Yolanda Farmer, executive vice president, presided over the ceremony and introduced speakers J.D. Ross; Joshua Stamborski, student trustee; and Dr. Shari Olson, retired president of South Mountain Community College. Trustee chairman Dan O’Connell presented the presidential medallion to Namuo, symbolically marking the start of his time as president during the Nov. 15, 2022 ceremony.
True to his genuine spirit, Namuo (and the audience) were genuinely moved by the surprise video messages played by his brother Clynton and teenage sons, Kekoa and Maika. Each congratulated him on his new role and wished him well. His wife, Tiana, and son, Kainoa, were in the audience.
Namuo was especially touched by a livestreamed message from his parents, Clyde and Pauline, who called in from his childhood home in Hawaii to wish their son well on his newest endeavor.
Prior to joining JJC, Namuo served as the interim president of Phoenix College, the flagship college of the Maricopa system serving the students and communities in and around Phoenix, Arizona. There he led the development of a shared governance structure and an aggressive equity agenda. Prior to Phoenix College, Dr. Namuo served as the vice president of learning and chief academic officer at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. At South Mountain he instituted an equity initiative, the creation of a construction trade program and expanded mobile technology across college instruction.