College president to retire

After six years at South Puget Sound Community College, Gerald Pumphrey announced he will retire in January 2013 through an email sent to staff and faculty on May 3.

Pumphrey began working at 16 years old and spent the last 11 years working in the Washington state community and technical college system.

“These jobs are tremendously demanding of one’s time,” said Pumphrey who began considering a date for his retirement more seriously after a cancer scare last summer.

Pumphrey said he now feels he is in good health and hopes to have more time to pursue other hobbies such as music, photography, and sailing.

“We’re losing a tremendous leader who has led this campus through very tumultuous times in wonderful fashion,” said Student Senate Member Matthew Shrader.

According to Shrader he “deserves a fabulous retirement.”

One of the greatest accomplishments of SPSCC during his time as president was the administration’s work on developing strategic planning in two processes. The administration is beginning preliminary work for an upcoming strategic planning process. Pumphrey described himself as the “chief cheerleader” throughout these processes. Much of his work put emphasis on these tasks in times of financial hardship and limited resources.

Another major accomplishment in his time as president was facilities planning, said Pumphrey. Over his six years working at SPSCC, the administration worked to complete of three new buildings, as well as the major renovation of Building 22 now underway.

Pumphrey said he hopes SPSCC will gain a “stronger financial footing” in the future. According to Pumphrey this will require more state resources, granted by the state, an event which he predicted may not come in the near future.

Before serving as president of SPSCC, Pumphrey said he focused a lot of his efforts in the community and technical college system on program development. Continuous budget cuts made program development difficult, he said. Pumphrey also said the industry needs fueled the program development projects he participated in, and the community surrounding SPSCC simply may not need frequent program development.

According to Pumphrey, he enjoyed speaking and interacting with a variety of students around campus, especially the student senate members, and these formed some of his favorite memories at SPSCC.

Pumphrey said he made sure students were always the main focus of decision making. He said he hopes the new president will lead the administration with the same attitude.

Without students, Pumphrey said, there would be no need for the administration.

Pumphrey’s advice for his successor would be to make sure to develop a relationship with the student leadership groups.

“He will surely be missed,” said Student Senate Member Michelle Le.

The SPSCC Board of Trustees hires the president of the college. The board appoints a search consultant, to create a profile to describe what the school committee wants to see in a new president.

According to Pumphrey the profile will consist of a list of job responsibilities, a description of SPSCC, and an outline of qualifications.

“There will be separate forums held for college employees and the community at large to get a sense of the desired characteristics,” said Pumphrey.

After recruitment of candidates by the search consultant the Presidential Search Committee reviews applications and chooses the finalists to submit follow-up video applications. The committee then recommends approximately five candidates to the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees predicts it will announce will occur on December 17. The new president will take over sometime in the beginning of February, but Pumphrey agreed with the Board of Trustees to stay for some additional time if the process is not complete at the start of the month.