The West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees recently presented former West Hills College Lemoore President Don Warkentin with the honorary title of president emeritus.
Warkentin retired as West Hills president, a position he had held since 2004, in December. The recommendation to give Warkentin the title in recognition of his 29 years of service to the college district was made by his longtime friend and colleague, Chancellor Frank Gornick, and was unanimously approved by the board.
“Mr. Don Warkentin served the West Hills Community College District with distinction for nearly 30 years,” said Gornick. “His provision of good and faithful service to the students, employees, and communities has earned him the respect, admiration, and accolades deserving of a status as president emeritus.”
Warkentin began his career in education in 1973 as a biology teacher for Lemoore High School, where he also served as a football coach, baseball coach, athletic director and principal of the continuation school. In 1986, he began his work at West Hills College as Associate Dean of what was then the WHC Kings County Center.
Under his guidance, the Lemoore college became its own campus in 2002. He also oversaw a variety of expansion projects, including the building of the Golden Eagle Arena and a new student center. With his leadership, the college has grown from 700 students in portable buildings to over 3,000 students on a brand-new campus.
He has also been active in the Lemoore community as a member of the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Kiwanis Club as well as the Kings County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. Warkentin is a former U.S. Army officer who served in Vietnam.