At receptions this week, the Metropolitan Community College community said goodbye to its seventh chancellor and hello to the eighth.
Mark James, chancellor since 2010, was presented with two resolutions of commendation (one from the College, one from Kansas City Mayor Sly James), a FabLab-created wooden replica of the MCC seal, and a framed commencement photo with parting words from notable community members. The sendoff for Chancellor James, who is retiring, took place at the close of his final Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.
Three special guests spoke at the farewell event:
Former MCC Chancellor Jacqueline Snyder (2005-10) told Chancellor James, “You’ve had a career of service from Day 1.” She welcomed him to the club of “the Chancellors Emeriti,” which she said involves no dues, no meetings, no fundraisers and no committees. All he has to do is get in the car, put the top down and head “into the woods,” Snyder said, one of several references Thursday night to Chancellor James’ Ozarks upbringing.
Carolyn Watley, a member of the MCC Foundation board of directors (and former chair), said she has had the pleasure of serving during Chancellor James’ entire tenure. She said the business community has viewed the chancellor as “a very active, engaged and visible leader” who worked hard to meet the training needs of area employers. He also signed a marketing agreement with the Kansas City Royals immediately prior to two World Series appearances. (“Genius!” the chancellor replied.)
Zora Mulligan, Missouri commissioner of higher education, told those gathered that MCC is viewed around the state as a model of collaboration and innovation. She cited the College’s partnerships with other higher education institutions, K-12 districts and business and industry. Chancellor James has also been a “real leader” of community colleges across Missouri, she said.
The Board of Trustees resolution commended and congratulated the chancellor “for eight years of exemplary service to Metropolitan Community College and for his leadership, characterized by his commitment to the success of students and firm belief in the opportunities available at MCC to transform the lives of students.”
He added: “Many times, all I had was a crazy idea, but somehow the MCC employees were able to bring that idea to fruition, and together we saw some great success that truly served students and our community.”
Earlier in the week Chancellor James’ successor, Dr. Kimberly Beatty, was introduced to the community at an event in Union Station. At the Monday reception, a long line of employees and community members formed to greet Beatty, who’s coming to MCC from Houston Community College, where she is vice chancellor for instructional services and chief academic officer.
As MCC chancellor, Dr. Beatty said, “I commit to you today, by partnering with the executive team, faculty and staff, MCC will be a place where students not only dream with a question mark, but rather achieve their dreams with a period. That’s what we will do together.”
Following her remarks, the departing chancellor and the incoming chancellor shared the stage.
“You know, when you put your blood, sweat and tears into a mission, you can have a little trepidation about handing things off,” James said. “But I will tell you I feel really, really good and confident in the future for MCC.”
Dr. Beatty will take the helm at MCC on July 1.