On July 6, 1966, the Board of Trustees hired Dr. James Duke as the first Vice President of the college. Dr. Duke earned his B.A. and Master’s degrees from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, and doctorate in educational administration from the University of Southern California.
Dr. Duke had been the Director of Planning and Research at College of Marin since September 1965, which included responsibility for the building program. Before being hired at Marin, he was College Facility Planner in the California State College Chancellor’s Office from 1962 until 1965. The position entailed reviewing and evaluating the educational programs of the state colleges. For the six years prior to 1962 Duke was the Building Coordinator for Long Beach State College.
Dr. Duke was involved in all aspects of preparing for the opening of the college in September 1967. This involved establishing the Serra Campus, recruiting and hiring administrators and faculty, setting up the schedule of classes, developing an athletics program, and registering students.
A major aspect of Dr. Duke’s work involved leading a two-year search for a permanent campus site and planning for a bond measure to fund the construction. In May of 1968, the Huddleson Ranch on Mission Boulevard was selected as the campus site; and in that June, the $11 million construction bond measure, Measure F, was passed. He was then deeply involved in the master planning for the new campus construction.
Before construction for the new campus began in 1972, Dr. Duke was hired by the College of San Mateo in September 1971. After three years at San Mateo, he was selected as the founding President of Lake Tahoe Community College in September 1974. He repeated his experience at Ohlone by leading the open of the Lake Tahoe college in 1975 in temporary facilities, and helped find a permanent site and build their campus. He retired from Lake Tahoe Community College in 1990, after 16 years of service.