Presidential Search & Building Plans Progress

The Manatee Community College (MCC) District Board of Trustees, at its Feb. 20 meeting, heard updates on the narrowing search for a successor to President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas, who is retiring June 30, and approved negotiations with architectural and engineering firms for construction of a second building at MCC Lakewood Ranch.

Search Update

 Trustee Ron Allen, serving as chair of the Presidential Search Committee, and Peg Beck, MCC human resources director, provided an update on the search process and answered questions about next steps. Beck informed the board that the Search Committee, at its Jan. 30 meeting, narrowed the pool of applicants from 26 to 10 semifinalists that include four females, one minority and six from Florida colleges.

Search committee members were provided with DVDs from semifinalists who recorded video interviews of themselves responding to three questions developed by the board's search consultant Dr. Jeff Hockaday with input from the committee:

(1) Why do you want to be president of Manatee Community College?

(2) What emerging issues do you believe will most significantly affect the mission of colleges? Describe how you might address these issues.

(3) How would you ensure that Manatee Community College maintains and advances a diversified work force and student body?

The search committee members will view the interviews independently before convening Feb. 27 to narrow the list from 10 semifinalists to five finalists. The committee will forward the finalists' names to the board of trustees, which will hold a special board meeting March 3 at 4 p.m. at MCC Bradenton to consider the committee's recommendation that the finalists be invited to interview with the board and meet with college employees, students and community members.

On-campus interviews and meetings with finalists will be scheduled beginning in late March and are expected to conclude by mid-April before the board holds its regular meeting April 16. When available, the visiting schedules of the finalists and other information will be posted on the Presidential Search Web page at

MCCLakewood Ranch Building

Based on recommendations from a selection committee, the board approved negotiation of contracts with Fawley Bryant Architects Inc. and Tandem Construction Inc. for design and construction of a 40,000-square-foot Medical Technology and Simulation Center at MCC Lakewood Ranch. Construction is expected to begin in February 2009 and be completed by March 2010.

State Budget Cuts Impact

Pappas reported on the impact of state budget cuts on MCC. Thus far this fiscal year, $1.3 million has been cut but increased enrollment has softened the blow to $524,000. Additional cuts may be required when the Legislature convenes in March.

 With universities limiting enrollment in response to the cuts, enrollment at community colleges is expected to increase, Pappas noted. Although legislators approved a 5 percent tuition increase, tuition covers only one-third of the cost of education, leaving community colleges facing the challenge of serving more students with less funding. MCC's budget assumptions for 2008-09 anticipate 5 percent less money from the state, no tuition increase and an 8 percent enrollment increase.

Foundation for MCC Report

Peg Lowery, executive director, The Foundation for MCC Inc., announced that a $3.3 million matching request was made for the state of Florida to match gifts to the Foundation, the private fundraising arm of MCC.

The Foundation raised $229,062 for the new Medical Technology and Simulation Center and $531,377 for renovation of the Music and Theater Building at MCC Bradenton. Additional funds were raised for scholarships and other needs.

The quarterly report also indicated the Foundation has supplied funds totaling $1.9 million for equipment and faculty support (51 percent), scholarships (42 percent) and other college needs. Despite the economic downtown's recent effect on the budget, Lowery reported a "healthy" total endowment portfolio of $47 million and a positive outlook for the Foundation to meet its established $50 million portfolio goal this year.

Naming Committee Recommendations Approved

Based on recommendations from the college's Naming Committee, the board approved Lowery's request to name a lab and a teaching studio in the Music and Theater Building in honor of benefactors. The rooms will be called the Beall-Szymanski Piano/Theory Lab and the Edward W. Roberts Teaching Studio.

Beverly Beall is an MCC trustee and a Foundation Board member, and the niece of Betty Szymanski. Szymanski took many music classes at MCC and played the cello in the College's Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Ed Roberts, a musician, endowed a scholarship in 1998 and has provided support for more than 20 students and funds for the Music and Theater Building, which is expected to be completed this July.

Vice President Cleary Recognized

Pappas recognized Dr. Tom Cleary, MCC vice president of planning and institutional effectiveness since 2000. Cleary attended his last board meeting before departing for a new position as vice chancellor at Alamo Community College District Offices in San Antonio, Texas.

Pappas applauded Cleary for his leadership in developing a data-based strategic planning culture at MCC and for coordinating the College's successful reaccreditation effort.


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