Building partnerships that assure our future is as bright as our past

4/29/08


It’s hard to believe that 10 years has passed since 1998, when I accepted the presidency at Cumberland County College. And what a decade it has been.

There has been a huge growth in our student body and a transformed campus featuring new buildings, services and activities. We’ve enjoyed great support from the local school superintendents, and business and governmental leaders, which has led to strong partnerships and new, innovative programs. CCC has received tremendous financial support from community members, which has enabled the college to implement extraordinary programs and services.

It’s been quite a ride! And our work is just beginning.

As this unprecedented growth unfolds at CCC, it’s increasingly apparent to me that we are experiencing a snapshot of the future for Cumberland County and Cumberland County College. The growth and development in New Jersey will continue to migrate to South Jersey. And we will need to provide more of everything: services, amenities, infrastructure, social, cultural and educational opportunities, public safety, and the list goes on and on.

In fact, I’m convinced that the delivery systems that must be built are not financially realistic in our current funding models. Issues of property tax reform, state-wide structural financial debt, pension financing and health care will only become more exacerbated if “business as usual” continues in this high growth-high stakes environment.

We must accept that there are alternatives to the current way of doing business, whether the business is education, municipal services or state-wide infrastructural development. And we must work much more closely together - across communities, across our county, and across our state - to explore and experiment with leveraging our scarce resources to maximize their effectiveness.

Twenty-first century opportunities demand 21st century thinking. We cannot build and sustain our future by holding on to 20th century models. We will need to make challenging choices that historically we haven’t had or been willing to make.

The future of Cumberland County will be great, and certainly different from the past. There will be bumps in the road, and strong leadership will be required to meet the challenges that lie ahead of us.

I look forward to calibrating my leadership and service to Cumberland County and Cumberland County College in ways that align with the philosophy of building community and state-wide partnerships that will create a college, community and county that honors our past and celebrates our future.