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PCC selects three finalists for college president


Portland Community College’s president search advisory committee has narrowed the pool of candidates to three finalists, it was announced by Denise Frisbee, chair, Portland Community College board of directors and co-chair of the college’s president search advisory committee.

The three candidates under consideration are Jeremy Brown, Tod Burnett and Richard Durán. The trio emerged from a field of nine semi-finalists from around the country. The search for PCC’s next college president is to replace Preston Pulliams who is retiring at the end of June. Pulliams joined PCC as president in 2004.

“Our committee had an extraordinarily talented and strong group of candidates to consider, and each of our finalists is highly qualified and experienced,” said Frisbee, who is a Lake Oswego resident. “We’re looking forward to welcoming them to PCC (this) month to meet with our faculty, staff and students, and the public at large.”

The college will hold forums in March for the public and college community to gain feedback about the three finalists. Additionally, PCC’s board of directors will conduct finalist interviews. Forums are scheduled for March 11 to 12 for Burnett; March 13 to 14 for Brown and March 18 to 19 for Durán. Additional details about the forum schedule and the candidates can be found on the college website at pcc.edu/about/administration/president/search. The announcement of the new president is anticipated to take place in April.

Here’s some background on the three finalists:

Jeremy Brown

Jeremy BrownA native of Manchester, England, Brown has served as president of Dowling College on Long Island and of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, which saw a record high in enrollments, retention and annual giving under his four-year watch. Prior to these roles, he was the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York in Canton from 2003 to 2007, and beginning in 2000 he served as the chief executive officer of Florida State University-Panama, a small American university in Latin America. Brown earned both his bachelor of science degree and his doctorate in physics from the University of Birmingham, England. His doctoral work in experimental nuclear physics was conducted at both the University of Birmingham and the University of California-Berkeley. He spent two years at Indiana University pursuing physics research, followed by a faculty position in the physics department at Princeton University. In addition to authoring several scholarly papers and articles, he was a visiting scientist at the University of Manitoba, Oxford University, and the National Accelerator Centre in Cape Town. Brown made the transition into academic administration when he became associate dean of the graduate school at Yale University, followed by a return to Princeton as the associate dean of faculty.

Tod Burnett
Tod Burnett

Burnett is the president of Saddleback College, a comprehensive community college in Mission Viejo, Calif., that serves more than 40,000 students. Prior to this, he was the chancellor for the California Community Colleges, the largest higher education system in the nation with 112 colleges and more than 2.5 million students. Burnett boasts an extensive public service background, having served at the national, state and local levels of government. In 2003 he was deputy appointments secretary for the California governor, advising on political appointments to 300 positions in state government. Before this, Burnett was a presidential appointee directing state and local government relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and was a mayoral appointee on the city of Los Angeles Board of Public Works where he oversaw a department with 6,000 employees that provided vital public infrastructure, safety and environmental services to the nation’s second largest city. Burnett earned an education doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and bachelor’s degree in political science/administrative studies from the University of California, Riverside. Additionally, he holds a certificate for senior executives in state and local government from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Richard Durán
Richard Duran

Durán is the president of Oxnard College, part of the Ventura County Community College District in Oxnard, Calif. This two-year multicultural, comprehensive community college serves a diverse student population and is in the process of expanding its campus facilities as the result of a recent voter-approved bond measure. In addition to Oxnard College, Duran has served as president of Tohono O’Odham Community College in Sells, Ariz. — he was the founding president — and Desert Visa Campus, part of Pima County Community College District in Tucson. Other previous positions include those as vice chancellor, academic affairs and student development at PCCCD; as vice president of instruction at PCCCD; and as the dean of education and educational services, Community College of Denver. Durán holds a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Northern Colorado, and a master’s degree in education and bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Adams State University in Colorado. Additionally, he is active in several professional organizations, including the American Association of Community Colleges (board member and Commission for Academic, Social and Community Development); National Community College Hispanic Council (president); Community College League of California; Economic Development Corporation of Oxnard; Oxnard Chamber of Commerce; and the Oxnard College Foundation.

PCC is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and 19th largest in the nation, serving approximately 94,634 full- and part-time students. PCC, which is roughly the size of Rhode Island, has three comprehensive campuses, five workforce training and education centers, and 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning. pcc.edu.