Although departed from the campus of Imperial Valley College since retirement in June 2018, Victor Jaime, former superintendent/president, is still much attached to his beloved institution.
Family, friends and colleagues recognized his long career with a dedication of a campus bench bearing his name on April 5. It is located near the administration building at the campus entrance.
Arriving at the college in the late 1970s, Jaime had served as president since 2011. Current president Martha Garcia thanked the dozens of guests for attending the special occasion.
"We're honoring Dr. Jaime for 38 years of selfless service to our students and community," said Garcia. "I thank you, Dr. Jaime for supporting me in my growth and guiding my progress in a profession I fell in love with."
Arriving at IVC just one year before Jaime, Sergio Lopez, retired vice president of student services, recalled their acquaintance goes back before Jaime accepted his first position at IVC as counselor.
"He taught me a lot about leadership and dealing with individuals," remembered Lopez. "He deserves all the accolades and I thank him for allowing me to be one of his generals."
Lopez extolled Jaime for using his keen vision to shepherd IVC through a turbulent time after he first assumed the presidency.
"We came up through the ranks together," added Lopez. "He's a loyal and honorable man. I knew he was going to apply (for the presidency) and we're thankful he did."
Caroline Jaime, who met Victor at IVC and spent her career in elementary education, praised her husband for helping others find their way.
"What a blessing we have in Victor," said Caroline. "We started here together and IVC gave me the opportunity to mold the minds of our young students."
Even the Jaimes’ twins (Jenny and Stephan) are graduates of IVC. Their youngest, Matthew, attended IVC but will graduate from Fresno State University next year. He's entering the medical field as a dietician/nutritionist. Caroline had relinquished medicine herself to comply with her mother's desire for her to teach, yet she finds fulfilment that two of her children attained success in the field she reluctantly left.
Jaime noted as tough as it was being college president, it was the time of his life.
"It feels good after a full career and seeing the compassion of the staff always focused on the students," he said.
Karla Sigmond, IVC board trustee, also offered praise of Jaime's acumen.
"I thank Victor for all his support," she said. "Every time I called for help, you provided guidance and encouragement."
Added Dave Drury, department chair of exercise science, "He was one of the few leaders at IVC who left their mark and who really loved IVC and didn't see us as a stepping stone. While we will enjoy seeing this reminder of you (dedication bench), we'd enjoy seeing more of you on campus."
Shirley Jones, a former transfer center counselor, characterized Jaime as a man she deeply respects and one who could always be relied upon.
"He's a family man and I learned when our families went camping together, he has a good sense of humor." said Jones.
She also said when she initiated a field trip program for primary and junior high school students to visit the IVC campus, it was Jaime who lent a priceless contribution.
"Victor allowed us access to employees in the financial aid department, which he then headed up, to serve as tour guides for the different cohorts of grades that visited throughout the year," she recalled. "And for that I am very loyal."