After five years as president of Pierce College Puyallup, Marty Cavalluzzi has accepted the same position at Olympic College.
Olympic College is a public two-year community college that serves more than 13,000 students annually. Founded in 1946, the college has three campuses: Bremerton, Poulsbo and Shelton.
He had some words for the students, fellow employees and community members he’ll soon be leaving behind in Puyallup — a big “thank you” among them.
“I’m going to miss you all and I wish you all the best of luck and hope our paths cross soon,” Cavalluzzi said.
Cavalluzzi will be leaving in February. Pierce College CEO and Chancellor Michele Johnson will appoint a temporary president. She hopes to find a permanent new president by July 1.
As president of Pierce College Puyallup, Cavalluzzi oversees many functions at the community college, from operations to capital projects to the hiring — and unfortunate letting go — of personnel.
But there’s one clear favorite part of his job.
“I really like helping students. It’s a calling,” he said. “It’s really rewarding.”
Before coming to Pierce College, Cavalluzzi worked as vice president of instruction for Edmonds Community College for seven years. He’s also worked at Seattle Central Community College, Northwest Indian College and Oregon State University.
At the end of his service as president of Pierce College Puyallup, Cavalluzzi said the school has really boosted its student success in terms of retention rates, graduation rates and keeping its students on “Guided Pathways.”
Last year, the college received a $500,000 grant that simplifies student pathways to success by providing them with the tools they need — mentors and counselors, study sessions, or financial aid — to find and stay on their chosen career path. The school is also working on implementing an app for students to track their progress to graduation by lining up the classes they need to take.
About 64 percent of the 4,000 students at Pierce College Puyallup are first generation college students, and direction and support are needed for these students, Cavalluzzi said.
Students can track themselves a lot better and be in better control of their futures. It’s all about student success.
Marty Cavalluzzi, Pierce College Puyallup president
“Students can track themselves a lot better and be in better control of their futures,” he said. “It’s all about student success.”
Cavalluzzi accepted the position at Olympic College to take the next steps in his career. He hopes to take there what he’s learned at Pierce College, from building strong teams to making sure his door is always open for his students.
He’ll also take with him all his memories. Every quarter, Cavalluzzi said he loved to fill his office candy bowl and go out to meet students as they passed through the administration building. And whenever he was out and about in Puyallup, he’d always run into a Pierce College student somewhere — whether at the Washington State Fair or a nearby grocery store.
“I love it here. I love Puyallup. It’s a great community,” Cavalluzzi said. “There are so many people I look at and I’m thinking, it’s going to be hard to leave.”
Johnson said that while she’ll miss Cavalluzzi, she’s excited for him to take the next steps in his career.
I wish him the best. He’s been a great president and a great team leader.
Michele Johnson, CEO and chancellor of Pierce College
“I wish him the best,” Johnson said. “He’s been a great president and a great team leader.”