When Bergen Community College (BCC) students return to school Sep 5, there will be a new president at the helm.
During their board meeting Tuesday, Bergen Community College Board of Trustees chose Dr. B. Kaye Walter to lead the state's largest community college.
Walter, who will become the seventh president of BCC, will assume office on Monday.
“I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to work with the Bergen Community College faculty, staff, students, trustees and the community, as they continue to provide innovative programming and educational options at the highest standards for each student they serve,” Walter said in a statement. "I am looking forward to working in a collaborative environment with them as we strive to make Bergen the number one community college in the nation.”
Board Chairman E. Carter Corriston said the board found Walter’s accomplishments impressive.
“I and the board welcome Dr. Walter as our new president and we look forward to working with her to continue the progress and excellence of Bergen Community College,” Corriston said. “In appointing her, we took note of her excellent record and we anticipate great things going forward.”
The Board of Trustees members include E. Carter Corriston, Chairman; Cid D. Wilson, Vice Chairman; Germaine M. Ortiz, Secretary; Dorothy L. Blakeslee, Treasurer; and Trustees Philip J. Ciarco III, Malcolm J. Curtis, James Demetrakis, Richard Dressel, James Napolitano, Michael J. Neglia, and Kathryn Rodriguez, Alumni Trustee.
Walter edged out Dr. Ronald C. Heacock, President of Adirondack Community College, a SUNY college in Queensbury, NY.
She has more than 15 years of experience in senior administrative positions in higher education. According to her resume, posted on BCC's website, Walter took at leave of absence from Ivy Tech Community College in May after two years to pursue other employment opportunities more suited to her "leadership style."
She oversaw an institution of more than 32,000 students operating with more than 1,300 faculty and staff, and a $71 million budget in the Central Indiana region, the largest of 14 regions that make up Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College system.
By comparison, BCC currently enrolls approximately 17,000 students taking credit courses, and 8,000 to 9,000 students taking continuing education courses.
Prior to joining Ivy Tech, Walter served as executive vice president and chief learning officer for Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla., where she led the district’s four campuses and more than 63,000 students, and also oversaw faculty professional development, institutional research and institutional effectiveness.
The hiring by BCC comes after the school fired its former president, G. Jeremiah Ryan, last July due to alleged use of his expense account for expensive meals and alcohol, and clashes with the board and the Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan over his leadership style, NJ.com reported.
According to the school website, BCC retained the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in the search for its new president.
The search criteria included finding a "visionary leader" with strong academic credentials, a commitment to student success and an entrepreneurial spirit, to name a few.
BCC also sought a candidate with an open communication style, a commitment to the region and community, great energy, and the personal integrity to inspire the College community.
Walter, a Texas native, earned a doctorate in chemistry from Rice University in Houston, a master’s degree in divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Houston.
Her academic career includes teaching general chemistry and organic chemistry while she served as a professor at Kansas City Kansas Community College and as an instructor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Walter, who currently lives in Indianapolis, is looking forward to relocating to New Jersey and engaging with her new faculty and students.
“I believe that every student who walks through our door can achieve great things. I like to work collaboratively with faculty and staff to develop programs that will help every student reach their greatest potential,” she said. “I truly believe that partnering with the community we serve is essential, both because of the College’s role in workforce development and because the community knows what it truly needs.”