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Moreno Valley College Herald

Moreno Valley College Herald

Radiating Possibilities, the legacy of President Robin Steinback

As her days at MVC come to a close, Dr. Steinback reflects on her time at MVC, her future and the activism that drives her

Moreno Valley College President Dr. Robin Steinback sits in her office, her walls covered with paintings that she’s collected over the years from students of hers and colleagues. Each painting on her wall is made by women about women and each piece of art represents a story. A story of growth, pursuit, and activism that has led  to the conclusion of her seven-year term as president of MVC and the culmination of a nearly 45-year career in higher education.

MVC’s fourth college president announced earlier this spring that she would be packing up her paintings and retiring to her 42-acre ranch. The end of her tenure brings a time of reflection, something that she isn’t very accustomed to, having always focused on “what’s next?”

Robin Steinback made a decision when she was a first-generation college student at Mt. San Jacinto College that she was going to pursue a career in the community colleges motivated by the passing of Proposition 13 which ended up cutting 50% of course offerings at her college.

“What I saw was that my opportunities and the opportunities of other people in community colleges were drastically affected by that funding cut and that I might not realize my goal of having a baccalaureate degree,” Steinback said.

This led her down a path of activism, a path that she has not abandoned after all these years. Inspired by Dr. Milo Johnson, the founding president and superintendent of MSJC, she was urged to take her activism to the community colleges.

“He actually encouraged my involvement in student government, he took me to conferences, and really became a mentor to me,” Steinback said.

In the future, Steinback looks forward to relaxing and some traveling but most importantly she looks to continue blazing a path of activism.

“There is so much to talk about and respond to in terms of people’s rights,” she insisted. “I’m concerned that some of the challenges to people’s rights are the same kind of challenges I had when I was a kid.”

Post MVC, other issues that will continue to fuel her activism are limitations on what people can read and limitations on people’s bodies. She also remains invested in tackling racial injustice.

“I was raised in a family where that mattered to us, as I grew to be an adult we sought changes in law because changes in law meant then that was codified and things were going to be okay,” she said.

The journey which began at her alma mater, took her up north to Solano County, and back down to San Diego County, blazing a path of activism and student focus within the administration of each college where she was employed.

Her journey ultimately led her back to Riverside County and MVC.

“This is where my home is, my home is here,” Steinback said.

During her tenure, MVC was able to rebound after The Great Recession of the late 2000s, restoring courses, bringing enrollment numbers back up to par, and reducing the time to completion.

She also hired 64% of the full-time faculty and 28 of the 32 managers. She contributes that success and the success of her team as a large part of her legacy.

No matter all her accomplishments her central goal remains the same until her final day in office.

“Moreno Valley College should be the college of choice for the people who live here,” Steinback said proudly.

Steinback hopes to deliver the message to her successor that they are coming into a college of great commitment to student success. The staff is composed of people who more closely resemble the students than when she arrived in Moreno Valley 11 years ago.

“There might be some budget challenges, but the college is well positioned for them because of its people,” she stated.

Her departing message to her students closely resembles the message she delivers at commencement. She encourages the students to go out and face the hard challenges life offers but to always know that they can be anything they want to be.

“I think of our students as adding value to our society and that we need their contributions, that we need their voices,” she declared. “I believe that the experience they’ve had, they’ve had the opportunity to find their voice, to connect, at least with an initial career. They have the skills, they have the knowledge, and they have the connections to be successful.”

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About the Contributor
Eric Pacheco
Eric Pacheco, Staff Writer
Eric Pacheco is a first-year student at Moreno Valley College. Eric is majoring in Journalism in pursuit of a professional career in the world of Sports Journalism.
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