‘Bittersweet,’ Vice President of Student Services Ross Miyashiro set to retire


Vice President of Student Services Ross Miyashiro models a t shirt, the shirts were being given away during the grand opening of The Social Justice Center on Wed. Sept. 28. (Kim McGill | The Union)

It’s Saturday. The week has finally ended.

Ross Miyashiro heads down to SoCal Magic in the City of Orange. No, it’s not because he has to drive his kids there.

It’s because Miyashiro is a “big gamer.” He plays Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and lots of board games.

He goes every Saturday, but not for long.

Vice President of Student Services Ross Miyashiro will retire on Jan. 1, 2023, after five years at El Camino and over 35 years of service to students.

Robin Dreizler, Dean of Enrollment Services will become the interim vice president until a permanent successor is chosen.

The main role of the vice president is to bring leadership and direction to all student services programs. This includes student support services, enrollment management, recruitment, and other duties listed in the job title.

The Associated Student Organization’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matt Schulz said Miyashiro has done a lot for El Camino.

“He’s gonna leave behind a very strong legacy,” Schulz said. “The new vice president will have very big shoes to fill.”

El Camino alumnus Giancarlo Fernandez, had an immediate reaction when The Union told him the news of Miyashiro’s retirement.

“It’s bittersweet,” Fernandez said, struggling to find words. “He was such a huge part of my success.”

Miyashiro grew up in Encinitas, California, north of San Diego. He also lived in Oakland for a few years.

Miyashiro played soccer throughout most of his childhood. Before he started soccer in middle school, he also ran cross-country.

“I got into cross-country to get in shape for soccer,” Miyashiro said.

Miyashiro played soccer all throughout high school and in college. He first attended Palomar College in San Marcos, California.

After attending community college, Miyashiro transferred to California State University San Bernardino, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics, and a master’s in educational planning. He also worked at the pub that was at the university.

After college, Miyashiro worked in student services at CSU San Bernardino in 1985 in the outreach mail room.

Five years later, he married his wife Maria. They currently live in Westminster, they’ll celebrate their 32nd anniversary in December.

They have two children, both who work at Disneyland.

“[It’s] good for me since I get in for free,” Miyashiro said. He also said that when he moved to Southern California, they would get Disney passes.

For the Miyashiros, it’s a family tradition.

“We’re Disney Vacation Club members,” Miyashiro said. “So we do all of our vacations at Disney.”

But Miyashiro doesn’t always go for rides or for a picture with Mickey Mouse. He also plays Pokémon Go.

“Disneyland is probably one of the best places ever for Pokémon Go,” Miyashiro said.

After working at CSU San Bernardino, Miyashiro worked at Long Beach City College as the Dean of Enrollment.

While at LBCC, he was a part of the development of the Long Beach Promise, which became the basis for multiple promise programs including the South Bay Promise.

After working in Long Beach, Miyashiro then worked at Coastline Community College as Vice President of Student Services. In Sept. 2017, he started his job at El Camino.

Ross Miyashiro sits at his desk next to his guitar on Oct. 5. Occasionally, he'll play while in his office. Miyashiro will retire on Jan. 1, 2023. (Anthony Lipari | The Union)
Ross Miyashiro sits at his desk next to his guitar on Oct. 5. Occasionally, he’ll play while in his office, Miyashiro will retire on Jan. 1, 2023. (Anthony Lipari | The Union)

One of Miyashiro’s first projects was about the South Bay Promise.

“President [Dena] Maloney called me in and said she wanted a bigger promise program,” Miyashiro said.

Five years ago, the South Bay Promise had 150 students. Today it has about 1,500 students.

During his time at El Camino, Miyashiro mainly focused on diversity and equity. But his biggest accomplishment was the newly-opened Social Justice Center in the Communications Building.

Fernandez, who was one of the biggest advocates for the center, said he enjoyed working with Miyashiro on the project.

“It was like working with a best friend/mentor,” Fernandez said.

With the Social Justice Center open, Miyashiro is starting to focus more on his retirement and helping with the transition. He said he is writing a document that will help the interim vice president Dreizler.

As for his retirement, Miyashiro will go to SoCal Magic every Thursday and continue to play the games he loves.

In addition to gaming, Miyashiro will continue to play guitar, write songs, and go to his singing lessons.

He also has a plan to travel the world with his wife when she retires. They want to go to Europe, Central America, China, and Japan.

Where will they stay? At a Disney Resort.

What will Miyashiro do at Disney? Play Pokémon Go.

While he travels and writes music, Miyashiro will deeply miss El Camino and its students.

“It’s a special place,” Miyashiro said. “This has probably been my favorite place where the students here are so unbelievable.”