Wolde-Ab Isaac, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Riverside Community College District
In a unanimous vote, the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees appointed Wolde-Ab Isaac, Ph.D., chancellor of RCCD, the fifth largest community college district in the state of California with colleges in the cities of Moreno Valley, Norco and Riverside.
"Dr. Isaac’s leadership is evident in many community organizations and partnerships within our District,” Tracey Vackar, Board president, said. “He embraces collaboration through shared governance with the District stakeholders and uses research-based evidence to support new initiatives."
A noted scholar and education activist, Isaac has more than 60 years of experience as an educator, faculty member and administrator. He came to RCCD in 2006 as dean of Health Science at the Moreno Valley campus. In 2012 he was named vice president of Academic Affairs at Riverside City College, and later as interim president of RCC. In 2015, he was appointed as Riverside City College’s 11th president.
“Those who know my background will understand when I say that I am a perfect example of the profound truth that education is the most powerful social and economic equalizer,” Isaac said. “It is with extraordinary sense of humility and honor that I accept this appointment to serve as the fourth Chancellor of the Riverside Community College District, a great and mature institution anchored in a rich history and tradition of pride and excellence. I pledge to do all I can to have RCCD be recognized as a leader, champion for student success and student equity, and thereby redeem the trust and faith bestowed on me.”
A Fulbright Scholar, Isaac was born in Eritrea, East Africa, and graduated from Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie University where he majored in chemistry. His graduate studies took him to the University of Michigan where he completed the MSc. and Ph.D. degrees in Medicinal Chemistry and did post-doctoral studies at Uppsala University in Sweden before he eventually returned to Eritrea to work as government secretary of Human Resources.
Isaac served as president of the University of Asmara in Eritrea from 1993 to 2006 and previously was a senior clinical researcher with AstraZeneca, a position he held for 12 years.
He resides in Riverside with his two sons, Simon, a graduate from UCR, and Yisak, a graduate from UCLA.