Coming full cycle: President Cavalluzzi arrives at Puyallup

President Cavalluzzi discusses his passions and plans for Pierce College.

Kaitlyn Hall and Lacey Longpre’


Dr. Marty Cavalluzzi began his college career at a community college, and it’s no coincidence that he’s back.

The newly-selected president of Pierce College Puyallup believes that a community college education can transform a student’s life.

“It changed my life,” Cavalluzzi said. “I was bored in high school, and then I went to community college and everything just came alive.”

Cavalluzzi began his journey at Orange Coast College where he was encouraged to pursue a career in marine science. He gives credit to five faculty members at the college who helped him find direction.

“It really was those five faculty at Orange College,” Cavalluzzi said. “I just fell in love with science.”

After earning his associate degree, Cavalluzzi transferred to Humboldt State University to earn his bachelor’s degree in science. He furthered his education by earning his master’s and doctorate degrees in marine science at the College of William and Mary.

Cavalluzzi taught marine science at Orange County Marine Institute before moving to Washington state. He found his niche in college administration after he was hired as the associate dean for math and science at Northwest Indian College on the Lumni Indian Reservation. He found that grant writing for the college brought a new wave of joy.

“I fell into administration, and I just love it,” Cavalluzzi said. “I get to help so many people now.”

His past work in administration includes a position as the dean of science and math at Seattle Central Community College and as the vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at Edmonds Community College.

Cavalluzzi believes Pierce College is a school that allows people to follow their passion; he says the resources and classes offered at the college can help prepare people for attending a four-year university, learn English, learn a technical or vocational skill or take a class to learn something new.

“The doors are open to every single person,” Cavalluzzi said. “And for every single person we can find something.”

Cavalluzzi’s goal is to increase student success at Pierce College and encourage students to remain engaged and keep connected to faculty.

“It’s that people-to-people contact that’s important,” Cavalluzzi said.

He suggests that students should take advantage of the education the college provides as well as the services designed to help them succeed.

“Learn every single thing you can in this college, and use all of the resources,” Cavalluzzi said.

Outside of Pierce College, Cavalluzzi is an active cyclist. He has been a participant in the RSVP, a bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., three times. Cavalluzzi has also persuaded others to participate in cycling and hopes to make Pierce College a more bike-friendly campus.

However, continuing to make Pierce College the unifying domain for the community ranks highest on Cavalluzzi’s list of priorities.

Cavalluzzi wants to foster connections between Pierce College and the surrounding community members and businesses. He also hopes that the inexpensive tuition rates and small class sizes will draw in new students.

“I want (us) to be the go-to college for the community,” Cavalluzzi said. “We offer a private college education at a community college price. That’s what community college is for, right?”

Cavalluzzi is appreciative of the chance to work with faculty and students at Pierce College. As he professed his love for his new position at Pierce College Puyallup, he smiled.

“Everyone at Pierce College, whether student or faculty,” he said, “should wake up each morning and say, ‘Yeah! I’m going to Pierce College!’”


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Coming full cycle: President Cavalluzzi arrives at Puyallup

by admin time to read: 2 min