The St. Charles Community College Board of Trustees has named Ronald Chesbrough, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs at Hastings College in Hastings, Neb., as the next president of St. Charles Community College. He will take the helm of Missouri’s fourth largest community college district with the upcoming retirement of John M. McGuire, Ph.D., only the second president since the college was established in 1986.
Trustees agreed on the selection in a special Closed Session meeting on Aug. 27 after an eight-month nationwide search process. Chesbrough was selected from a field of 86 candidates, said William R. Pundmann, president of the Board and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. A committee representing faculty, staff, students and community residents participated in screening and interviewing the candidates.
Following his start date of Oct. 3, Chesbrough and retiring president McGuire will spend two weeks together on campus in order to provide for a smooth transition of leadership, Pundmann said.
“We have been fortunate over the past 15 years to have had the excellent leadership of a man who served 20 years as president of two community colleges,” Pundmann said of the departing McGuire. He said Chesbrough’s 24 years of experience in college leadership and administration and his history of collaborative, democratic leadership and dedication to a mission of access and student success prepared him well to become SCC’s third president.
Chesbrough, 54, has served as vice president for student affairs at Hastings College since 2005. In this position, he was responsible for a $1.2 million budget and the administration of the student life division, retention research and initiatives, and the Kemper Program in Social Entrepreneurship, a grant program that serves to expand student and faculty involvement in service learning. He was involved in institution-wide budget planning and construction of budgets up to $30 million.
During his tenure at Hastings College, first-year retention increased by 10 percent (2008-present) and he contributed to record enrollment in each of the last four semesters. Chesbrough has worked closely with the Hastings College Foundation’s fund-raising efforts including the construction of a student fitness center, student-run coffee shop and an all-night computing center. He has authored federal and private foundation grants that have resulted in awards in excess of $8 million.
Before joining Hastings, he served as dean of students from 1993-2005 and from 1989-1993 was the director of Upward Bound, both at Johnson State College in Vermont. Other positions held by Chesbrough include director of service learning programs (Trinity College, Vermont), associate director of career services (Champlain College, Vermont), and director of co-curricular learning (Rock Point School, Vermont). He has been an adjunct instructor since 1987, primarily in psychology, at Hastings College, Trinity College of Vermont and Community College of Vermont.
Chesbrough earned a doctorate in higher education leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Master’s of Education degree in organizational and human resource development from the University of Vermont. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and economics from State University of New York at Potsdam.
Board President Pundmann said that in selecting Chesbrough, trustees were impressed with his 18-years experience as a chief student affairs officer and his background in academic and student affairs collaborations, fund-raising and development, and enrollment management. Chesbrough’s career has spanned public and private institutions and includes teaching experience in community college and baccalaureate settings. He has led and participated in strategic and master planning initiatives and has published and presented nationally on student success, campus safety and service learning outcomes.
"I am honored to be selected as the third president of St. Charles Community College in this, the 25th anniversary year of the college,” Chesbrough said. “The college has a rich tradition of serving the education and workforce development needs of St. Charles County and the surrounding area. I am excited to continue this tradition into the college's next 25 years and to join the outstanding faculty, staff and students of SCC as we continue to build the successful future of the college. I am confident that the future is bright."
In Nebraska, Chesbrough is involved in many community organizations and was the 2010 chair of the South Central Nebraska United Way campaign to record fund-raising accomplishments. He currently serves as vice president of the Board of Trustees of the Hastings Museum. He and his wife, Anne, have five daughters.
Established in 1986, St. Charles Community College is celebrating 25 years as a public, comprehensive two-year community college with associate degrees and certificate programs in the arts, business, sciences and career-technical fields. SCC provides workforce training and community-based personal and professional development as well as cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities. For more information, visit www.stchas.edu.
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