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Shrubb is finalist for president job at TCC

WORTHINGTON — Current Minnesota West Community and Technical College president Richard Shrubb is a finalist for a new position.

Shrubb is one of the three finalists for the post of president at Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma, joining Leigh Goodson and Ann Valentine as contenders.

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“MnSCU, Minnesota West, and Tulsa Community College are all large and complex, yet made up of good, solid people who put the needs of others first,” Shrubb said Monday afternoon. “This is attractive to me as a college president because Julie and I share these cultural values, and we fit well with learning communities that demonstrate them.”

Shrubb announced in December that he would retire from his position at Minnesota West, effective June 30.

“My intention was never to quit working,” Shrubb said during a public forum last week at the TCC campus in Oklahoma. “When a president has an offer of another contract and voluntarily declines the new one, that’s classified as a retirement. … What you’re doing is retiring the contract. It was never my intention to quit working.”

He said Minnesota West is better off financially than when he arrived, relationships are stable and enrollment is stable.

“This is the time for me to be handing off the college,” he told the audience in Oklahoma.

There was a large number of candidates for the position, according to Lauren Brookey, vice president of external affairs for TCC.

“The search committee reviewed the more than 50 applications we had and established a pool to review and interview,” she said. “That was nine individuals. From the nine, they selected five they passed on and recommended to our Board of Regents to review. Of those five, three were selected as finalists, so to speak, or the three individuals who would be considered for the role of president.”

Shrubb, in his sixth year as president of MW, was previously a vice president of academic and student affairs at Terra Community College, dean of general education and campus dean at Southern State Community College, associate professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering and instructor of English at Pearl River Community College.

“As we researched the college and found out more about things you do well, the rich tradition you have, the things you have opportunities for growth in. … That fits me like a hand in a glove,” Shrubb said during the public forum. “Tulsa Community College has a rich tradition that I will protect. I promise you this will be a smooth transition. It’s important to me not to show up with a bag full of my own ideas I must impose.”

TCC has four campuses located throughout Tulsa County — West, Metro, Southeast and Northeast. A college of approximately 28,000 students annually, it offers more than 220 certificates and degrees.

“Being a president invigorates me, empowers me and strengthens me,” Shrubb said. “It does not deflate or weaken me. My health is very good — I could work until my early 70s.”

The current TCC president, Tom McKeon, announced in October his plans to retire after more than 30 years at the school.

“I respect the work of Dr. McKeon very much,” Shrubb said. “I hope to stay in touch with him for years into the future. My goal is to use this as the capstone of my career. I’ll come here and stay; I will not move again.”

The board meets again May 8, at which time a recommendation for the next president could be made. However, if more time is needed to make a decision, the board meets again June 12.

“Ideally, the Regents would like to bring a recommendation to the May board meeting that they vote on as a full board,” Brookey said. “That’s sort of the goal, but with a little bit of wiggle room in there for the June board meeting as well, in case they need additional time. President McKeon will officially retire effective the end of June. The goal would be to have a new president in place by July 1.”

Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.