SUSCC (file photo)

Actions are taking place at Southern Union State Community College to select a permanent president. Last week Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker announced the posting of the position of president of the college. The college has not had a permanent president since 2008.

This is the culmination of the Southern Union Strategic Planning Initiative announced last August.

Applicants will have until March 19 to apply for the position. An advisory search committee will be appointed to assist the chancellor with reviewing applications. The committee will consist of the ACCS chancellor, Southern Union faculty and staff, an ACCS college president, and representatives from local business and industry or community members.

Baker said after a thorough interview process, he will make a recommendation to the system's board of trustees.

"As promised, the placement of a permanent president for Southern Union State Community College has been made a priority and is moving forward," Chancellor Baker said. "Impressive work has been done by the strategic planning committee with input from the entire Bison community, and a permanent president will be named no later than June of this year," he said.

He also announced the appointment of Mark D. Ellard to serve as interim SUSCC president effective March 1. Due to the state's restrictions on employment for those who have previously retired, Dr. William "Bill" Blow's service at Southern Union will end Feb. 28.

"I am grateful for Dr. Blow's service to not only Southern Union and the Alabama Community College System but to the entire higher education community. His leadership will be greatly missed," Baker said. Blow has served SUSCC since November of 2017.

Speaking to Ellard's time at SUSCC, Baker said, "Though his time at Southern Union will be short, I'm confident Mark's experience and skill set are the perfect fit for this transitional time at the college."

Most recently Ellard served as interim president of Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC), which was one of the colleges projected to be included in a proposed merger with Southern Union, which includes campuses in Wadley, Opelika, and a site in Valley.

Prior to his service at CVCC Ellard served as interim president and executive vice president at Bevill State Community College. He holds a bachelor of science in commerce and business administration from the University of Alabama and a master of business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a certified public accountant licensed to practice in Alabama.

"I am grateful for this opportunity to continue to serve our community colleges and I look forward to being a proud member of the Bison community," Ellard said. "Southern Union is a special place and I am committed to helping in any way I can to continue the important work the college does on behalf of its students, our faculty and staff, and the greater community," he said.

The last interim president at Southern Union was Dr. Glenda Colagross who served from 2013, then left last fall to return to Northwest-Shoals Community College.

With the retirement of Dr. Humphrey Lee, president of Northwest-Shoals Community College, in December Colagross was expected to be appointed interim president of the college. Prior to her tenure at Southern Union, Colagross spent 20 years at Northwest-Shoals, beginning as a developmental studies instructor and rising to vice president of instruction and eventually vice president of the college.

Baker announced the appointment of Dr. William "Bill" Blow to serve as interim president of Southern Union until the selection of a permanent president in the spring. Blow's appointment was effective Nov. 1, 2017.

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