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George McPhatter is a man of few words and many pictures! As Director of Student Financing and Financial Aid he has helped 100’s of Casa Loma College students apply for and secure the funds needed to finance their education. George is known to follow the rules to the letter and is deliberate when it comes to actions to follow procedures, but this is what makes his department and he so organized and efficient. Read on to learn more about George – things you did not know!
Tell Us About Yourself? Where were you born? Have you always lived in California? Family? Children?
I was born September 16, 1956 in Kansas City, Missouri; the 4th child and 2nd son to Reverend/Chaplain Thomas and Genevieve McPhatter.
In 1957 we moved to Great Lakes, Illinois, where the first of my little brothers was born.
In 1959, we moved to San Diego, California to the neighborhood of Emerald Hills, where the Mayor of San Diego also resided. The neighborhood was not very accepting of us as the first Black family to move in; in fact, a cross was burned on our front lawn after my father left to go overseas in an attempt to scare us away, but we stayed. My youngest brother was born in 1965, making a total of six children, 4 boys and two girls. As children, my brothers, sisters and myself, basically “integrated” the school system through busing in our area of San Diego. I relocated here to Los Angeles in 1980.
I don’t have any biological children, but I’ve helped raise about twenty. I currently have 2 nephews, 3 great nephews and one great niece. My fiancée has four children (2 boys and 2 girls), 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
What Brought You to Casa Loma College?
I’ve worked in postsecondary education in various positions since relocating here to Los Angeles in 1980, ranging from Financial Aid Officer to CFO/Dean of Administration.
I’ve worked in all higher education sectors; private, public, profit/proprietary, non-profit, undergraduate, graduate and professional. In 1992 between jobs, I
began my own financial aid consulting company and was doing that full-time from 2012 to 2017, when I found the ad for Casa Loma College; the rest is, as they say, history.
What inspired you to help students, as you do in this job?
I’ve always been inspired to help people in an attempt to try and make their lives better. I inherited that from my father who was a minister and my mother who was a teacher; however I didn’t train or go to school to work in financial aid. As I stated, I started in the field in 1980 when I went to work for a financial aid consulting company. As a former student myself, and seeing what students go through to receive financial aid, it’s always been my goal to attempt to explain and simplify the process for them.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Knowing a student understands their financial aid, working with Eliza to make sure they’re properly funded and watching them graduate.
What Have Been Your Most Important, Proudest And/or Favorite Experience in Your Career?
In all the institutions I’ve worked for, I’ve always been successful in helping decrease the attrition rate, increase the graduation rate and lower the default rate, while also helping the institution increase its bottom line. I worked for ITT Technical Institute from 1987 – 1992, right here in Van Nuys. When I arrived, we were 34th out of 35 schools for performance statistics. Within a year I had us at number five and subsequent to that, the school was always in the top three until I left. In 2001, I began a three-year successful campaign to make sure loan servicers properly applied students’ interest payments to their student loans.
Who Has Influenced You the Most in Life and Why?
If you could do another job, anywhere, for just one day, what would it be? And why?
Volunteer work in a hospital setting on a tropical island. I’d be able to help people but also enjoy myself afterwards.
If You Could Have Dinner with One Person, Living or Dead, Who Would It Be and why?
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. to obtain his perspective on what is happening in America right now and his ideas on how to change things.
How Do You Like to Spend Your Free Time?
I spend my free time around my home, performing domestic duties, gardening, swimming, taking care of my vehicles and periodically breaking out the BBQ grill. I also enjoy walking/hiking, bike riding, listening to music and watching movies. I also do volunteer work around my neighborhood and community.
Best vacation you’ve ever had?
Other than the vacations I’ve taken every year with my fiancée’, my best vacation was in 2013, when as a member of the Hyundai Think Tank, I won a contest (along with another person) to represent the United States at the first Global Hyundai Club Invitation. Had I known her then I would have taken her with me. It consisted of a five day, all expenses paid trip to Hyundai/Kia Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, their manufacturing facilities and other properties they own, such as resorts and restaurants. For the weekend, we were flown over to Jeju Island, which is the equivalent of Hawaii for the United States.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I was originally studying to be a doctor and I play the flute and tenor saxophone.
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