By Kevin Vazquez
El Toro Carniceria and Taqueria is a hole-in-the-wall secret for most Santa Ana locals.
For Carlos Lopez, it’s a reminder of his childhood Saturdays, when he would line up with his parents for a hot pot of breakfast menudo.
Lopez found himself drawn back to the community years after moving away to the Coachella Valley. He is Santa Ana College’s new Vice President of Student Affairs.
“There’s a lot of great things going on here at Santa Ana College. The faculty is really focused on students and student success,”Lopez said.
A product of the community college system and the grandson of migrant farm workers, Lopez is well aware of the obstacles students face.
“I have had a lot of peers that I went to community college with who started there but never finished so I had that experience with friends personally,” Lopez said.
One of the Lopez’s passions is getting students to advance through the developmental sequences more quickly and to prepare students for transfer.
SAC’s new redesigned math programs are one of the areas he wants to focus on expanding to help students move through remedial math with more success.
Lopez’s college career began at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. He then transferred to UC San Diego earning a bachelor’s in applied mathematics, and a masters in statistics from the University of California, Riverside.
Lopez has 16 years of community colleges experience. He Spent time as dean of mathematics and sciences at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, and was dean of instruction for academic programs at Mt. San Jacinto College.
When Lopez isn’t at SAC, he’s grabbing coffee at Portola Coffee on Fourth Street, barbecue at Burrell’s, or suiting up and hitting the ice at The Rinks in Anaheim.
“I took up ice hockey of all crazy things a couple of years ago and so I’ve been playing for about a year. At my age, most people don’t take a sport like that,” Lopez said.
Kennethia Vega, assistant to Santa Ana College’s president, has worked closely with Lopez.
“He has an awesome attitude and loves to see students succeed and is very mindful of budget and enrollment and is a great asset to academic affairs,” Vega said.
Lopez has served as a professor and chairman in the past. Now, as vice president of student affairs, he and his family have returned to his childhood town, where he now commutes to work daily from Orange.
“I have been given a great opportunity here and I’m really happy to have joined the academic community here at Santa Ana College,” Lopez said.