Farewell to southern MinnesotaPublished 9:02am Thursday, August 9, 2012
Column: Terrence Leas, Riverland Community CollegeCancer
After nine years at Riverland Community College, my delightful career as its president came to a close on Aug. 1.
Though I was not actively searching for a new position — I was happy at Riverland and had planned to complete my career here — Big Bend Community College offers exciting opportunities for professional growth that are not available to me at Riverland.
Moreover, my wife, Loyal, and I are glad Moses Lake, Wash., is within three hours of wheare our children’s families reside. Watching our grandchildren grow up on Skype has been a challenge for us.
I have enjoyed every year at Riverland because of the superlative faculty and staff members who have devoted themselves to excellence in teaching and learning and to the success of our students. Our employees genuinely care about helping others achieve their educational and career goals.
Riverland and I have also benefited from the generous support of members of the Riverland Community College Foundation board of directors. These caring volunteers have given their time, their expertise and their personal resources to help students access a higher education. They have truly made a difference in the lives of those whom they have helped. Moreover, they and the donors with whom they work have inspired me and others to find creative ways to extend a helping hand to students who are less fortunate.
No community college is worthy of the name unless it collaborates with its communities. Fortunately, Riverland has enjoyed enviable support from the Albert Lea-Freeborn County area, and I am especially indebted to all of our school officials, community leaders, elected officials and employers who have supported Riverland.
The community leadership development program is one project of which I am especially proud; the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, program participants and their sponsors are wisely investing in the community’s future. The community’s support of our innovative wind turbine technology and solar installer programs are additional sources of pride.
I remain confident that Riverland will continue its momentum with Interim President Kent Hanson. Provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks since 2003, Hanson is an excellent fit for Riverland. His experience with a multi-campus college will help Riverland build on its reputation for excellence during the transition to a permanent president next year.
Chancellor Steven Rosenstone has initiated a process by which the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities board of trustees will identify and select Riverland’s next president by March 2013.
Tim Wynes, president of Inver Hills Community College, will chair the search committee, which will comprise Riverland employee and student representatives and community representatives from the region Riverland serves. The search for a permanent president will be open, competitive and nationwide, and the new president will take office July 2013.
Once again, I thank all of you who have made my nine years at Riverland so rewarding. Your support of this wonderful college is a powerful example of how all of us working together can help students achieve extraordinary results.
Terrence Leas was the president of Riverland Community College until Aug. 1. He begins as president at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Wash., on Aug. 23.