Welcome to Spring Quarter - And a Personal Note

April 9, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to spring quarter. I hope you enjoyed some small break last week, and I know you share my pleasure in seeing the students back. It’s wonderful to hear their excitement and enthusiasm, and especially gratifying to hear so many of them sharing the good news of transfer acceptance into university. We are, as our ads say, "Tops in Transfer … and More."

At the same time we welcome students back and appreciate their successes, we must acknowledge that our enrollment challenges continue. Between the two colleges, the district is now projecting a loss of more than 1,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES) over the 2017-18 academic year. At De Anza, we have reviewed regional data while conducting our own surveys and analyses, and know that chief among the reasons for the decline in enrollment are increasing commute times, the cost of housing, and the continued difficulties faced by low-income students in one of the costliest areas in the nation.

Our shared governance committees are deeply involved in the process of cutting $5 million from the college budget, De Anza’s 50 percent share of the district’s previous projected deficit. Vice Chancellor Kevin McElroy will be providing updated figures soon, and, given the continued enrollment decline, the deficit will be worse. I have full confidence, however, that our shared governance process will tackle the new numbers head on, with transparency and a commitment to making the wisest possible decisions about our academic programs, student services and college services


I also want to share some personal news with you. You may have noticed my limping into meetings, and even using a cane on some occasions. For the past two years, I have been grappling with an autoimmune inflammatory disorder, polymyalgia rheumatica. It causes persistent joint and muscle pain, which in my case has not adequately responded to treatment. While not life-threatening, it nevertheless affects my quality of life, and I cannot any longer balance the demands of my treatment and the commitments of our work.

For this reason, I will retire as president of De Anza College this summer. I will be fully engaged this spring, working with our community to meet our budget goals, then celebrating our multiple end-of-year events and commencement on June 29.

I have served as president for 14 years, and am enormously proud of the dual commitments to educational excellence and social justice that define the college. The work of faculty, classified professionals and administrators has been marked by an uncommon attention to both individual students and the broader dynamics of inequality that frame Silicon Valley.

Our students are remarkable. It has been a joy to watch them develop and grow, thanks to the faculty and staff whose skill and care have mattered so much. It has been particularly gratifying to see so many students become active in their communities, and in the social issues that define our time.

Whatever the future – healthier, I hope – I will have De Anza in my heart. I am retiring with a sense of gratitude for having had worked with such inspiring students, progressive faculty and staff, and superb administrative colleagues. Thank you all.

My very best wishes,
Brian Murphy

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