Dr. Viar’s Vision


Victoria Gutierez

President Dr. Viar cannot help but smile as he talks about his future plans for GCC.


It is no secret that Glendale Community College is currently undergoing multiple renovations across various facilities. Dr. David Viar, the president/superintendent of the college, discussed the importance of the renovations and how it will impact students.

GCC was granted $375 million for a 10 to 12 year project that is currently being invested in the creation of new buildings along with renovations to current ones, the first being the Verdugo Gym. “The athletic facilities, the classrooms that are in that particular facility, needed to be seismically retrofitted to bring it to appropriate standards,” said Viar.  

Here is what he had to say about how he got his start at the college and his ultimate vision for the campus.


What inspires you to work in a student-based environment?

Well, you said it by saying student-based. It really is an exciting opportunity to be working with students. For about 35 years of my professional career, I was working on behalf of community colleges at the state and national level with associations, but when I had the opportunity to become president of a campus … I really realized how valuable and how important it was to be part of the life of the students.


In one of your previous interviews, you had mentioned you chose Glendale Community College. What made you choose this campus? How do you like it so far?

Well, that actually is a little more of a personal story in that my wife and my son are residents of Glendale now. We expected some time to have a grandchild … so when the opportunity came up for a Glendale Community College presidency, we felt like it was a great opportunity to combine working at a great college with a good staff and faculty on board, along with a close connection to the family. It’s been very, very special, in fact, I enjoy it much more than I really anticipated. Glendale is a very special community, which we enjoy very much and the college is even better than I thought it was from its reputation.


Did you ever picture yourself running a college campus and being in the position to make decisions such as renovations?

That was not something early on in my life — both as a student where I was an undergraduate in economics, on to when I finished my military service with the Army deciding that I was going to go into law school, and then after law school, working for a federal grant project — during all of that time I had never really thought specifically about community colleges or … about being a president of a community college. But I did want to be involved with education in some fashion, and so when the opportunity came to work with a statewide association of community colleges in Illinois, that really started my interest in law, business, working with people and being involved with education which brought it all together.


There have been rumors that there might be some renovations in the near future for the Verdugo Gym. Is this correct?

Yes, that is correct. As a result of the passage of Measure GC, it has allowed the college the ability to spend $375 million for a variety of new, renovated and infrastructure projects. The first major project with that Measure GC fund is the renovation of the Verdugo Gym, the athletic facilities and the classrooms that are in that particular facility. They needed to be seismically  retrofitted to bring it to appropriate standards. It is very old and very decrepit. Anybody who’s been in the training room, the locker rooms and the shower rooms knows that it is in desperate need of support.


What is your vision for this campus? Are there any more renovations in the future? Might there be new buildings?

It’ll be a ongoing project over the next 10-12 years, composed of different projects along the way. There is a plan to expand and improve the facilities for music, dance, and kinesiology. There are plans for improving our facilities related to the technology programs, whether it’s machine technology, whether it’s electronics or even engineering. There are also plans for renovations and improvements of our facilities related to our sciences. All of these are a piece of what was the 2015 facilities master plan and that’s what shaped the decision to go forward to the donors to ask for bond support to allow us to fund those.


I know the Sierra Vista Building was delayed from its anticipated finish date. Will it be finished anytime soon?

Yes, the plan for the Sierra Vista Building is that it will be completed in December. We will then begin the process of moving the different services and support units, as well as some of the instructional areas into that building during late December [or] early January, and then [we will] be prepared, hopefully, to use the full facility in the beginning of our Spring 2018 semester.


You mentioned in a previous interview how proud you were of having such a diverse faculty and staff at your previous campus. Is that something you are currently working on with this campus?

Well, the diversity of our faculty and staff is very important, regardless of the location. We do want to continue to try to make sure that our faculty and staff are reflective of the student population. We have a ways to go here at the college. We’ve outgrown with the number of Hispanic students that we’re serving, but we have not had an equal increase in number of faculty and staff that are of Latino or Hispanic ethnicity. So I think that it is important to grow and develop in that area.