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2014 February 17 - 12:00 am


  • Former AACC CEO Pierce Dies at Age 78

David R. Pierce, who rose from a community college student and math instructor to become the chief executive of the American Association of Community Colleges, died last month at a hospital near his home after a brief illness. He was 78.

Pierce headed the AACC from 1991 to 2000 and is credited with getting the group’s fiscal house in order, reaching out to membership and strengthening ties to both other education entities and the federal government. Funding for community colleges from the National Science Foundation increased from $1 million in 1989 to $50 million in 1999. In 1995, both Education Secretary Richard Riley and Labor Secretary Robert Reich spoke at the AACC convention.

“During my tenure at AACC I was guided by the vision that community colleges should be the centerpiece institutions of the communities they serve,” he said in 2011. “I was further guided by the belief that to achieve this end, community colleges needed to be as strong politically and functionally as possible.”

Pierce’s AACC tenure capped a four-decade career that began as a mathematics instructor at Orange Coast College. He earned an associate degree from Fullerton College after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and later earned a baccalaureate, two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education and math.

He served as president of North Iowa Area Community College, president of the Illinois Community College Board and chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.

He is survived by his wife Maureen, three children and four grandchildren. Pierce’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers gifts be made in his memory to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation Scholarship Fund.

  • Bill Would Make Voting Easier

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Voting in elections could get easier for college students in Washington state under proposed legislation that would require ballot drop boxes to be placed at public colleges and universities.

The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved House Bill 1290 on a 6-4 vote. The bill next heads to the House Rules Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the measure would require a ballot drop box be placed at each public college, university, community college and technical college, and at certain branch campuses. County auditors could place more than one drop box if a college’s administration or student body association agreed to jointly fund the installation.

The bill also would require county auditors to establish drop box advisory committees with college representation and would require the consideration of American Indian reservations when determining where to place other ballot drop boxes.

“I think this is a great opportunity to make sure we’re engaging students on campuses,” Orwall said.

  • Calif. District To Sell Off Stocks in Fossil Fuel Companies

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A community college district in Northern California has promised to sell its stock in fossil fuel companies, joining a small but growing divestment campaign organized by students around the country.

The Peralta Community College District announced that its Board of Trustees has resolved to stop investing in companies that produce oil, gas and coal within five years. The district includes four schools — Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College — that enroll about 30,000 people.

Student activists have been pushing the governing boards of the University of California and California State University systems to pull their money out of fossil fuel companies to combat climate change.

Last year, the foundations for the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District and San Francisco State University agreed to divest their endowment portfolios of fuel stocks.

  • Longtime Del Tech President Announces June Retirement

DOVER, Del. (AP) — After four decades at Delaware Technical Community College, President Orlando George Jr. will retire in June.

At a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, 68-year-old George said it’s “time to pass the baton to the new generation.”

George began as a math instructor at the school in 1969 and has served as president for 19 years. The post has earned him distinction as the state’s highest-paid employee.

After a search that will include outside applicants, the Board of Trustees will select George’s replacement. It’s not clear when the search will be completed.

  • United Tribes College President Assumes Fundraising Role

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The man who has run United Tribes Technical College for nearly four decades will now be working to secure its future.

The board of the Bismarck school run by North Dakota tribes has named President David Gipp to the new position of chancellor to focus on the school’s financial future.

“With upwards of 1,200 students annually and over 350 employees, this is a large and successful organization,” said Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall, the board’s leader. “But it’s a new day when it comes to funding because of the shortfalls and cutbacks of the federal government. And with the ever-expanding vision of what we need to accomplish through tribal higher education, it’s very important that the college continue moving forward.”

Gipp has been president and CEO of the school since 1977 and has developed a reputation for being a national advocate for tribal colleges. He said he is looking forward to the new challenge of “cultivating stable and reliable alternatives” to reliance on federal funding “so we can not only maintain but expand services.”

  • Ky. Gov. Offers Plan To Pay for College Capital Projects

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Steve Beshear says the state should authorize $145.5 million in agency bonds to pay for a host of expansion projects at Kentucky’s community and technical colleges.

The proposal is part of the governor’s two-year state General Fund budget plan he presented to Kentucky lawmakers. He outlined his priorities in a speech to a joint session of the House and Senate.

Beshear says the community and technical college system has grown to about 100,000 students. He says the General Fund can’t meet the system’s infrastructure needs.

So he says KCTCS leaders recommended issuing agency bonds for up to 75 percent of project costs. The remaining 25 percent will come from local communities and other public or private sources.

  • New Iowa Student Success Center Will Serve 24 Counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A nonprofit organization that provides college and career counseling and readiness programs for students has opened a new student success center on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny.

The Iowa College Access Network says the new center will provide local services across a 24-county area. That will include 96 high schools and more than 45,000 students.

During the 2012-2013 academic year ICAN says it helped more than 450,000 students and parents in Iowa.

The organization provides services at most of the state’s high schools offering one-on-one high school planning for college-bound students in addition to helping families fill out student aid applications and other college planning documents.

  • NM College Gets $2.5M Grant for Oilfield Training

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded New Mexico Junior College to a $2.5 million grant to offer more oilfield training to the underemployed.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports (http://bit.ly/19NMSEn ) the funding will be made available later this year. New Mexico Junior College is the only college in the state to receive such a grant.

The college’s director of institutional effectiveness, Larry Sanderson, says the award is huge for the campus. The goal is to serve unemployed and underemployed workers by providing relevant training as determined by the needs of the region’s energy industry.

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