Community College of Allegheny County President Alex Johnson has been selected as the new president of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. He will begin his duties on July 1.
“After some consternation I decided given the fact that my children and grandchildren reside in Cleveland this would be a good last move for us,” Johnson said in an interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier May 16. “At the end of the day they asked me if I would come and I said yes.”
Johnson came to CCAC in 2008 after serving as chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans. Prior to that position, Johnson served as president of Cuyahoga’s Metropolitan Campus for 12 years, from 1993 to 2003. This was his first presidential position at a college.
“Dr. Johnson has elevated CCAC during the past five years, and we are a stronger, more effective college thanks to his leadership,” said Amy Kuntz, chair of the CCAC Board of
Trustees in a press release. “Although we regret the loss to CCAC, we wish him the best as he undertakes this new role.”
Johnson touted the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center, which opened this year, and the college’s efforts to promote minority and women business engagement as two of the greatest accomplishments of his tenure.
“My hope is that the new president would continue with the strategic priorities we have in place,” Johnson said. “We want to continue to ensure the college continues to be a place where people from the community can come to get the education that will lead to a career.”
Johnson will replace Jerry Sue Thornton, who served Cuyahoga, also known as Tri-C for 21 years as president. Thornton announced in January that she would retire on June 30.
A 20-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, including faculty, staff and community representation, selected three finalists after interviewing eight candidates. One of the three withdrew from consideration for family reasons, leaving Johnson and Lars Hafner, a former president of State College of Florida, Manatee–Sarasota.
“Thanks to Tri-C’s reputation and record of success, there was tremendous interest in this opportunity. Ultimately, Dr. Johnson was the clear choice among a very strong group of candidates,” said Jerry Kelsheimer, chairman of the Cuyahoga Board of Trustees in a press release. “In Dr. Johnson, we have found a strong leader with the ability to extend his influence beyond the College itself. He has an absolute commitment to student success and to supporting our faculty and staff and has demonstrated his ability to manage fiscal affairs responsibly. Moreover, he will be aligned and engaged with the community’s needs and interests, and willing and able to evolve our organization in response to a changing environment.”
Tri-C is the largest of 23 community colleges in Ohio, with four traditional campuses, two Corporate College locations, 50+ off campus sites. The college, which serves 55,000 credit and non-credit students annually, is second in Ohio and 61st in the nation in awarding associate degrees in all disciplines.
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