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CARE Member Contributions to The Next Thirty Years

A Tribute to John Richard McKinley
Submitted by Art Larson and Reed Buffington
Chabot College

John McKinley was an admired colleague, friend, and outstanding leader not only at Chabot College but in the California Community College System as a whole.  He was a native Californian, a graduate of Oakland High School and a loyal graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.  His first employment was with the Social Security Administration Office in Oakland.  During World War II, John was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and served as a Lt. Commander with meritorious service in the pacific theater.  Following his return to civilian life, he served as a YMCA camp director and then started and developed the Stonestown YMCA in San Francisco.  Upon completion of his master's degree at Berkeley, he joined the University Faculty as an instructor in Public Administration.  As indicated by the decals and license plates on his car, he was a loyal alumnus of the University.  John was a trained University of California Master Gardener.  He found great enjoyment in growing a great variety of planted and potted plants, especially orchids.

John was a true professional, beginning his career in the Community College System at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill where he served as the Registrar. It was there that he met Dr. Reed Buffington who was Dean of Instruction. John moved on to become the Dean of Instruction at Laney College in Oakland. When Dr. Buffington later became the Superintendent-President at Chabot College he invited John to fill the position Dean of Instruction there. John's leadership was effective because of his personal scholarship, his orderly management of change, his skillful communications, his commitment to the mission of the community college and his encouragement of innovation.  John was admired and respected by all who worked with him: the faculty, the staff and fellow administrators. He was a perfectionist, firm, reasonable and honest.

John left the Office of Instruction to develop and organize the newly created Office of Administrative Services for the College. His reputation for integrity made for easy acceptance of the new administrative division. The responsibilities of that office included personnel administration. John became a recognized leader in that field, and he became an expert in the interpretation of the policies and procedures of both the State Teacher's Retirement System and the Public Employees' Retirement System. After his retirement from Chabot, he became recognized throughout the State as an excellent pre-retirement counselor. He was one of the founders of the Chabot Association of Retired Employees and remained an active member of the Board of Directors retiring as a Director Emeritus.

John is remembered for his pride and devotion for his family in which he held many titles: brother, husband, father, father-in law stepfather, grandfather, great grandfather. He could name each one. John practiced his Faith. He was a quiet, caring, loyal and generous person with a positive personality, infectious smile and a readiness to help others. He was known by his friends as a "Gentleman's Gentleman." John was a great conversationalist and knew few strangers.

John will be missed but his legacy will endure.

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2007 C.A.R.E.

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