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By Paul Bradley  /  
2010 June 28 - 12:00 am

Bumphus Named New President of AACC

Walter G. Bumphus

Walter G. Bumphus, whose higher education career has spanned nearly four decades and has included stints as college president, senior administrator and system chancellor, has been named the new president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Bumphus, who currently is a professor in the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) and chair of the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin, will assume his new job in January 2011, succeeding George R. Boggs, who is retiring after heading the AACC for a decade.

The selection of Bumphus culminated a six-month search for Boggs’ successor and comes at a time when community colleges are enjoying unprecedented attention, but also are facing serious challenges. They have been identified by President Barack Obama and a host of private foundations as critical to the nation’s economic revival.

“The community college role in higher education and in the economy has taken on increasing urgency and significance, both nationally and in our communities,” said Mary Spilde, president of Lane Community College and chair of the AACC Board of Directors. “The board has worked diligently to find the right individual to seize this moment and step up to the unprecedented challenges the nation is facing. We are confident that we have found in Walter Bumphus a proven leader with the passion, energy, commitment and expertise to lead the nation’s community colleges to even greater service for our students, communities and country.”

In selecting Bumphus, the AACC has turned to a well-respected, longtime leader with a long track record of accomplishment and strong ties to the colleges he will lead. The AACC is an organization that represents the nation’s more than 1,200 regionally accredited public two-year colleges, a sector which has experienced exponential growth over the past three years. Bumphus was head of the AACC board in the 1990s.

Said Boggs of his successor: “Walter has been tested over and over as a leader, and he has consistently risen to every challenge. He brings both intellect and experience to the leadership of AACC, and he has a deep commitment to community colleges and the people they serve.”

Bumphus holds a B.A. degree in speech communications and an M.A. degree in guidance and counseling from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the CCLP.

He served as CEO at two community colleges: From 1991 to 1997, he was president of Brookhaven College, part of the seven-college Dallas County Community College District, Texas’ largest undergraduate institution. From 2000 to 2001, he was chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College.

Prior to his presidential experience, he served as dean of students (1978-1987) and then vice president and dean of students at Maryland’s Howard Community College (1987-1991) and dean of students at East Arkansas Community College (1974-78). In arkansas, he helped launch the new college and appeared before Congress on its behalf.

Bumphus began his career as director of minority affairs at Murray State University (1972-74).

Bumphus made perhaps his most significant mark as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, a job he held from 2001 to 2007. The system includes seven community colleges, two technical community colleges and 40 campuses, which serve close to 51,000 students and has an operating budget of $250 million.

As system president, Bumphus led a major post-Hurricane Katrina initiative, securing a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to quickly develop construction trades centers in hurricane-devastated areas of the state. He led the creation of the system’s two technical community colleges and three new community colleges.

He also has served in numerous higher education groups and organizations, including on the AACC Board of Directors; the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education; the National Advisory Board for the Education Commission of the States; the advisory committee for the League for Innovation in the Community College Kellogg Minority Leadership Project; and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

A native of Princeton, Ky., Bumphus is married to Aileen Bumphus and has four children and 12 grandchildren.

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