Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November 2010

College Board Elects Community College President as Chair


OCCC Sechrist
OCCC President Paul Sechrist recently was elected College Board chair.

On Oct. 29, the College Board elected Paul Sechrist, president of Oklahoma City Community College, as the chair of its Board of Trustees. The election occurred at the Annual Meeting of Members of the College Board held at the College Board Forum 2010 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., October 27-29.

“At a time when America is increasing its focus on community colleges, it is noteworthy that the College Board, a membership association made up of more than 5,700 of the nation’s leading educational institutions, would elect a community college president as the chair of its board of trustees,” said College Board president Gaston Caperton. “Only once before in its 110-year history has the College Board turned to a community college leader as chair.”

Sechrist has been active in the College Board since 1996. He has served as vice chair since October 2008, and he took the helm of the 31-member governing board of the association at the Annual Meeting. On behalf of the members, the Board of Trustees governs the business affairs of the College Board under the management of the president. As chair of the Board of Trustees, Sechrist will be responsible for leading the Trustees in their duty to assist in legal and fiduciary decisions; approve the mission, strategic goals and objectives; establish policies and advise those responsible for the management of the organization.

Nearly half of all undergraduates are enrolled in a community college and these schools have higher rates of minority, first-generation and low-income students than four-year universities. Through a series of initiatives and the National Commission on Community Colleges, the College Board is advocating for these institutions to be centrally included in national debates about the future of education.

“If the United States is to achieve its goals, both in terms of excellence and equity, community colleges must play a central role in the development and implementation of national education solutions,” said Caperton. “Few understand the significance of the community college movement more than Paul, a nationally known and highly respected community college president. Additionally, his experience as a high school teacher and professor of teacher education, gives him a unique perspective as we strive to strengthen education in our nation.”

As president of Oklahoma City Community College, Sechrist has forged close ties to K-12 systems, universities, and business and industry. He is known for being innovative and deeply committed to both access and success in college. He believes that community colleges are a vital component in ensuring that America remains competitive in a global economy.

“The commitment by community colleges to serve underrepresented populations in higher education aligns with the mission of the College Board to connect an increasing number of students to success in college,” Sechrist said. “Two-year colleges provide the nation with an affordable option to develop the skills for gainful employment or as a gateway to a baccalaureate degree.”

Sechrist has been in education for more than 30 years and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.

One of Oklahoma’s fastest growing colleges, Oklahoma City Community College enrolls more than 22,000 students annually and offers 77 certificate and associate degree programs.

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