On March 8, 2020, higher education lost a visionary leader in higher education: Dr. Alfredo de los Santos
Dr de los Santos was the founding president of EPCC and served from 1971-76. He strived to build a college to serve the students and community. More than a half a century later, his impact on EPCC is still seen today.
David Henry, recently retired EPCC English Faculty, gives De Los Santos credit for creating a shared governance model of leadership and emphasized a college focused on student success which still exists today. “Through his great force of character, Dr. de los Santos directed every aspect of the birth and infancy of the college. He interviewed all new administrators and faculty, looking to see if they shared his vision,” Henry said.
When reflecting on EPCC during the college’s 50th Anniversary in 2019, De Los Santos said, his original vision for EPCC had been fulfilled in three ways: “On a broader scale, EPCC has helped educate thousands of individuals in El Paso County who might never have the
opportunity. As well, many of the students who began their higher education at El Paso Community College have transferred to The University of Texas at El Paso. Thirdly, the community college has helped to prepare the work force that has helped employers—and has helped to drive the economy.”
Dr. de los Santos was proud of his work at El Paso Community College. “It would be almost impossible to measure to positive impact that
El Paso Community College has had on thousands of El Paso students over the years. Working to found the institution was an interesting adventure,” de los Santos said in a 2019 interview.
“I still have clear memories of working with groups of people in the community, hiring the administrators and the faculty playing basketball with the students—full court on the outdoor at Logan Heights–the hundreds of individuals who provided help and support.”
EPCC mourns the passing of Dr. Alfredo de los Santos, our college’s first President. “Dr. De Los Santos was a trailblazing leader who was among the first Latino community college presidents in the nation,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC’s current president said. “He is known for his lifetime commitment to higher education and for his visionary leadership at EPCC. We are grateful for his legacy and impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”