Dr. Helmich Announces Her Retirement


Dr. Doris Helmich

James Peru, Cactus Editor

During a board meeting held at the Signal Peak campus on the 20th of October, Dr. Doris Helmich announced her decision to retire from her position as president of Central Arizona College.

President Helmich began her time at the college in 2001, as the Director of Student Success. “It was the perfect job for me,” she said about the position. “I had an opportunity to learn the culture, and to get to know the students.”

She later became the Dean of Students, followed by a promotion to Vice President of Student Services, before being selected as the Interim President of the college in 2011. After a nationwide search, she was elected by unanimous decision to become the college’s next president later that same year.

Upon assuming the title of President, Dr. Helmich was immediately tasked with improving the college’s accreditation—an accreditation that was in tough shape at the time. Under her guidance the college went on to attain full accreditation for the longest term possible, ending in the year 2022. “The staff and faculty were wonderful,” she commented on the process. “That was a huge accomplishment; we are very proud of that accomplishment.”

While achieving full accreditation may be one of Dr. Helmich’s proudest moments, her most memorable moment came during her first year at the college, at the opening night celebration for the Summer Bridge program—a program she herself helped to initiate. “I was introduced to a culture that I knew nothing about,” said Dr. Helmich, when describing that memorable night. “Here I am, an East Coaster; my first language is French. I come to Arizona, and many people have Spanish as their first language, with a whole culture surrounding that language. That is not the case back East; there are not a lot of definitive types of activities that represent culture. To hear a mariachi band, and to see students and parents celebrating, together, the fact that these students had made it to our doorstep made for a great event.”

While many of us wish that she would stay longer, this will be Dr. Helmich’s final semester at the college. “It’s time for me to go,” said Dr. Helmich on her decision to retire. “I have an elderly mother living on the East Coast, and I would like to be free to go and visit her more. I also think its time for the college to look for a new leader.”

When asked if she had any advice for the college’s next president, she responded, “Get to know the students. This is the best student body I have ever worked with. If the students don’t absolutely make you proud, then you are in the wrong position. For me, it has kept me going. I have never worked with such an appreciative student body.”

She will be missed by both faculty and students alike.