College President Gerald Pumphrey will officially retire in February 2013, which may bring changes to campus life, including club operations and college-sponsored events.
Longstanding and well-supported organizations like the student senate do not expect to see any negative changes with Pumphrey’s retirement. According to outgoing Student Senate President Khurshida Begum, the senate has complete faith in the college Board of Trustees to choose a suitable new president for SPSCC, but it will be hard to find a good replacement.
“It’s a big shoe to fill… He’s all about the students,” she said, “He always knows what’s going on and is very involved with the students’ lives.”
Outgoing Student Senator for Legislative Affairs Matthew Shrader said, “It’s never easy to replace a good, strong leader like Pumphrey. I can’t say that it’s not going to have any impact, [but] hopefully it will have minimal impact.”
Veterans Club members fear major problems, however. Although the club’s constitution states the club is not a political organization, it often faced opposition and obstacles in establishing and maintaining their club according to club president Garrett Collins.
“His leaving is actually going to hurt us. We have tried for so long to get this club going…And once [Pumphrey] found out who we were and what we did, he was very supportive of us,” said Collins.
“Now, we have an open door to go to someone high up if we ever need anything, and we’re afraid that door might close,” he said.
The Veterans Club is one of the campus’ largest clubs; it has about 70 active members out of 600-plus veterans attending SPSCC, according to Collins.
Collins said club members worry the president’s replacement will not be a veteran supporter, and that it will be much more difficult for them to receive funding next year. However, the college president is not involved in the committee that allots funding to clubs.
Faculty Senate President and psychology Professor Kathryn Clancy said Pumphrey has always been very helpful and available to discuss the issues and concerns of SPSCC professors.
Many professors were surprised that Pumphrey had decided to retire after only six years at SPSCC, according to Clancy.
“He’s only our second president, so I think a lot of us just thought he would be around a lot longer,” she said.
Clancy said Pumphrey has developed a smooth transition process since the Board of Trustees and faculty, staff, and students gave input as to what qualities they would desire in a new president. She said she does not believe any of the faculty is really worried about the impact his retirement will have on the college.
“If anything, it will probably be a positive experience…It sounds like Dr. Pumphrey is looking forward to his retirement, and I think it just works well for all of us,” she said, “I think we are all excited and looking forward to working with a new president.”
The Board of Trustees plans to select a new president by December of this year. Pumphrey is set to officially relinquish responsibility to the new president in February of 2013.