San Jose college administrator dies on vacation in Mexico
Jorge Escobar, vice chancellor for the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District, died while on vacation in Mexico. Image courtesy of San Jose-Evergreen Community College District.

    A top official and longtime leader of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District has died.

    Vice Chancellor Jorge Escobar died recently while vacationing in Mexico, according to a Tuesday statement from the district. Escobar, 55, was in the running to take over as chancellor from Interim Chancellor and San José Spotlight columnist Raúl Rodríguez, according to sources familiar with the matter. The district didn’t provide further details about Escobar’s death, other than saying he died in a “tragic accident” while on vacation. Other media reports said Escobar drowned at a beach in front of a tourist complex in Jarretaderas.

    “Those who worked closely with Jorge or had experience with him know that he was an extremely talented administrator who embodied a rare combination of professional and interpersonal skills,” Rodríguez said in a Facebook message. “Beyond his professional acumen, Jorge was known for his kindness, generosity, and sense of humor.”

    Jorge Escobar started working at San Jose City College in 2014 before working his way up to district vice chancellor. Photo courtesy of Jorge Escobar’s LinkedIn profile.

    Escobar had worked as an education administrator since 2005, when Princeton University hired him as a manager of administration, according to his LinkedIn profile. He started working at San Jose City College in 2014 as vice president and was temporarily promoted to acting president in 2018.

    The San Jose-Evergreen Community College District hired Escobar as vice chancellor of administrative services in 2019.

    Rodríguez said Escobar was skilled at bringing disparate groups together and building coalitions, as well as a strong supporter of students.

    “In addition to the impact that Jorge had on our district, he also played a significant role in the broader community,” Rodríguez said. “He was involved in many organizations doing vital work to make San Jose and the Silicon Valley a great place to live, learn, and work for everyone.”

    The district is currently searching for an administrator to succeed Rodríguez as chancellor, according to spokesperson Ryan Brown. Administrators are still conducting interviews of candidates, and the district’s goal is to have a permanent chancellor in place this summer, he said.

    Wendy Ho, a trustee for the district, expressed her condolences Tuesday on Facebook.

    “A very sad day for us at SJECCD,” Ho wrote. “Thank you for your tireless commitment to our students and community, Jorge. You will be missed.”

    Contact Sonya Herrera at [email protected] or follow @SMHsoftware on Twitter.

    Editor’s Note: Escobar was in the running for the chancellor job at the district but no final decisions were made prior to his death.

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