GCC trustees to vote on new president Tuesday

  • Greenfield Community College Downtown Center in Greenfield. FILE PHOTO






For the Gazette
Published: 5/12/2018 12:00:14 AM

GREENFIELD — In a process that has very much been centered around public input, there will be one final public step to the selection of the next president of Greenfield Community College.

Tuesday at 8 a.m. the college’s trustees will vote on which of the five finalists to hire to replace longtime President Bob Pura, when he retires in the coming weeks. The public is invited to watch this final leg in the process.

The vote will be preceded by deliberation by the board, which will hold its meeting at the larger Stinchfield Lecture Hall, so that more of the public can sit in on the decision.

After deliberation, there will be a roll call vote, asking each trustee to announce their pick for president. If the board comes to a majority vote, a recommendation will be put forward to the Board of Higher Education, which is the body that approves the final decision.

Late August, Pura announced he was going to step down as president of the college after holding that position since 2000, saying in a speech to faculty at the time: “It is now time for me to move on — I think I am ready to graduate.”

He said he hoped the school was going to be able to find a replacement for him before he finally stepped away, and it looks like that timeline will be more or less met.

A formal search process has played out over the past eight months, leading to a selection of five finalists, one of whom will be the next president of Greenfield Community College.

Each candidate had their own day on campus, where they met with faculty, teachers and students.


Christopher Gilmer, a first-generation college student, is the executive director of Alcorn State University’s Vicksburg campus in Mississippi and Southwest Mississippi Center for Culture and Learning.

Arlene Rodriguez, a first-generation college student and who moved to New York from Puerto Rico as a child, is the current senior academic affairs adviser to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, after beginning her career at Springfield Technical Community College.

Yves Salomon-Fernandez is the president of Cumberland County College in Vineland, New Jersey.

Julie White is the senior vice president of student engagement and learning support at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, N.Y., a school herself and others have likened to Greenfield Community College.

Carla Oleska, a first-generation four-year college graduate and first-generation high school graduate, is the current vice president for institutional advancement at Elms College and has spent eight years as the chief executive officer of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

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