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Three candidates in the race for PCC's top job

Jeremy Brown, Tod Burnett and Richard Durán are finalists in college president search


Portland Community College’s president search advisory committee has narrowed its pool of candidates to three finalists.

Denise Frisbee, chair of Portland Community College's board of directors and co-chair of the college’s president search advisory committee, said Thursday the three candidates under consideration are Jeremy Brown, Tod Burnett and Richard Durán.

The final contenders to replace Preston Pulliams, who will retire at the end of June, rose to the top of a field of nine semi-finalists from across the country.

“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. “We’re looking forward to welcoming them to PCC next 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 solicit feedback about each of the finalists, and PCC’s board of directors will conduct finalist interviews.

The public will have the opportunity to meet with Burnett on March 11 and 12, Brown on March 13 and 14 and Durán on March 18 and 19. Additional details about the forum schedule and the candidates can be found on the college at pcc.edu. The announcement of PCC’s next president is anticipated to take place in April.

And the finalists are:

Jeremy Brown — A 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, Brown was the provost and viceJeremy Brown 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 — 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 Tod Burnetthigher education system in the nation with 112 colleges and more than 2.5 million students. Burnett has 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 served as 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 who 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 — 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. Duran has served as president of Richard DuranTohono 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, Ariz. Other previous positions include those as vice chancellor, academic affairs and student development at PCCCD; vice president of instruction at PCCCD; and the dean of education and educational services at 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 as a board member and member of the 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.