By Gustavo Buenrostro
A long time member of the East Los Angeles College District, Academic Senate president Alex Immerblum is retiring.
Immerblum started as an English professor at ELAC in 1989.
He remembers the first time coming to ELAC and being honored to be a part of the college.
“I remember walking on campus and I noticed the library in the middle of the campus. To me it was extraordinary having a campus library that big,” Immerblum said.
When he first started teaching, he remembered that his classroom was a WWI bungalow that he called the barracks that had no ventilation.
Immerblum says the transition from being a professor to being more involved with the academic senate was such a long time ago that he doesn’t remember when it really happened.
“I went to some senate meetings and I was under some very good leadership by then Academic Senate president Michael Simone and it was just wonderful synergy. I was a perfect fit for it and I said ‘sign me up.’ I had found my calling,” Immerblum said.
Immerblum became the Academic Senate’s vice president in 1993 and then became president of the senate in 1997 until 2001.
He later became president of the senate again in 2007 and finished in 2017. Immerblum has also had many leadership roles in other campus committees like the Student Success Committee and the Educational Planning Subcommittee.
He was also a founding member of the Los Angeles Community College District Professional Development College.
One thing that Immerblum was particularly proud of was the faculty hiring policy, which created a committee to hire faculty instead of the ELAC President being solely responsible of hiring someone.
“The faculty representative can hear the interviewing going on and the college president can discuss and really try to get the best person hired. That was missing before. The faculty was not allowed to be a part of the president’s final interview,” Immerblum said.
He says that the hiring policy was revised and streamlined to get the best possible hire the school could get.
Immerblum worked at Huntington Park and Griffith Park middle schools and high schools as an instructor.
He says that working at those institutions was different than working in a community college.
Working at a middle school or high school was exhausting for him because he worked five days a week in five different classrooms.
Immerblum says that he had thought about retirement a few years ago and considered retiring two years ago, but it was this year when the school had the retirement incentive that he decided to end his career and start a new chapter.
One of the first things that Immerblum said he will do after retirement is to get back to reading books.
He says that the senate took much of his time that he fell off of reading.
ELAC curriculum chair and history professor Steve Wardinski said, “No one has been more resolute in defending the rights of faculty and needs of students than Alex. Even in difficult times, there is always a clarity of purpose and a sense of humor that helped us get through the process.”
The title “Lion of the Senate” was bestowed upon Immerblum for his strength, courage and leadership, by the Academic Senate yesterday. He was known by his colleagues for his sense of humor and his drive.