Instrumental vice chancellor calls it a career

Brittany Arquette and Brittany Arquette

By Brittany Arquette
City Times

It’s been a long ride for San Diego Community College District’s vice chancellor, Damon Schamu. But come June, that ride will end, and another will begin.

After 27 years with the district, the devoted employee is retiring. People who know Schamu say, even though he won’t be back, the changes he made while here will live on forever.

In his nearly three-decade career, Schamu played a significant role in expanding and building new classrooms on the district’s three campuses: City College, Mesa College and Miramar College. His proudest accomplishment, however, is helping pass propositions S and N, which he says will bring major improvements to all three campuses in upcoming years.

“We at the district worked very hard on those propositions, even though we all had other jobs to do,” Schamu said. “But we saw this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. City College hasn’t seen a whole lot of changes off the bat, but you’ll start seeing some soon. It’s in the works.”

Schamu went on to say the design for the 700 space parking structure is nearly complete, and should be completely built by 2009. Too far ahead in the future for most of us to enjoy, but close enough for maybe your younger siblings.

The District’s Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Wayne Murphy, knew Schamu very well. He said Damon always set a good example of fairness and integrity.

“He never hesitated to take on new and challenging assignments,” Murphy said. “He always had a great sense of humor about everything. He is very well respected by all staff members in the district.”

Now that his career is winding up, Schamu has had time to reflect on his many years with the district, and said he could never have asked for a better job, or better people to work with.

“I guess I was the cheerleader in the district,” Schamu joked. “The leader of the chorus I guess you could say.”

What’s next for Schamu? The busy man will hardly be sitting around.

Aside from offering free construction management services to his church, which is doing a million dollar renovation, Schamu will continue to work on his three loves: a 1957 Thunderbird, a 1959 Corvette, and a 1949 Ford Woody.

Schamu also hasn’t ruled out helping the district with upcoming projects, and says he is eligible to be re-hired on an hourly bases if the district needs help for whatever reason.

Even though most students don’t know Schamu by name, he said everything he did over the past 27 years, was for them.

“I was here to serve you the student,” he explained. “I think everyone needs to remember that. Without you, teachers, college police, janitors, district employees, we would all be out of a job.”

For his retirement party, Schamu wants nothing fancy. Just a picture of every building he played a part in building over the years. He wants to display those pictures on the wall at his farewell party, so every one will know how he and his colleagues have changed the campuses for the better.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve done,” Damon said. “I will miss it a lot. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I will miss the folks I’ve worked with, and most of all I will miss helping the students.”