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Path Leaves for OSUIT

Janelle Gerharter

Janelle Gerharter

Dr. Bill R. Path, president of Northeast Community College announced Wednesday at the Fall In-service that he has accepted a new position as president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.

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NORFOLK, Neb. – Dr. Bill R. Path will soon leave his position as president of Northeast Community College for a similar position at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) in Okmulgee, Okla.

Dr. Path will begin his new position as president of OSUIT later this fall.

“I was not looking for a new job when this opportunity came up,” Dr. Path said.  “The university asked me to submit an application.”

“The decision to apply was not made lightly by my wife, Deb, and me.  We have enjoyed every minute of our lives in Norfolk,” he said.  “Our two sons graduated from Norfolk high schools and we will take a part of Norfolk with us.  But, the bottom line is, we are going home.  We will be no more than two hours away from both sets of our aging parents.”

Dr. Path served as vice president of student services at Northeast Community College from 1996-2000.    After serving one year as vice president of academic and student affairs at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo., he returned to Northeast in 2001 to begin his presidency.

While leading Northeast, Dr. Path has forged partnerships to further the mission of the college that many said couldn’t be done.  With support from the City of South Sioux City and Dakota County, a 10,000-square-foot education center in South Sioux City was opened in 2005.  Following a donation of 57 acres of land from the South Sioux City Community Development Agency, Northeast and Wayne State College partnered to build the College Center in South Sioux City.

Dr. Path also oversaw the opening of a new education center, the Shirley and Jake Weber Education Center, in West Point.  That project was financed with major donations from the Louis and Abby Faye Dinklage Foundation and Hank and Mona Stalp.

On the main campus in Norfolk, Dr. Path led construction of the Diesel Storage Building, 147-bed Burkhardt Hall, Utility Line Building, Agriculture Complex, Welcome Center, and J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh College of Nursing. The $11.9 million college of nursing was built with a capstone gift of well over $1,000,000 by J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh.

Under his leadership, Northeast has added several new academic degrees and programs to meet the changing academic needs of students and the 20-counties it serves in northeast Nebraska.  Credit enrollment rose slightly from 3,245 full-time equivalent (FTE) students in 2001-2002 to 3,485 FTE’s in 2010-2011.

Dr. Path was invited by the American Association of Community Colleges to attend the Forum on Vocational and Technical Education in Beijing, China, last fall.  Also last fall, Dr. Path and Courtney Klein-Faust, executive director of development, presented at the Council of Resource Development meeting in Washington, D.C., on partnerships.  Dr. Path was invited to be a panel speaker at the International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) workshop in Washington, D.C., in June.

Institutionally, Northeast Community College was named to the Top 10 Percent of approximately 1,200 Community Colleges last winter by the Aspen Institute.  Northeast was also recently selected as one of four two-year colleges in the United States to participate in a pilot program by the International Student Exchange Program.

The National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA) 2010 Exemplary Initiatives Competition honored Northeast and UNMC last December with an honorable mention award in the Community and Workforce Needs Contest for its entry, Solving Rural Nebraska’s Critical Nursing Shortage.  NCIA is a professional organization affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

“All these accomplishments have not been the work of one man,” Dr. Path said.  “I have had the privilege of working with an incredible staff, led by Vice Presidents John Blaylock, Mary Honke, Lynne Koski, Dave Ptak, and Dr. Karen Severson.  I have pushed them and their staffs, and pushed them hard, to help me make Northeast Community College a better place.”

Other personal honors for Dr. Path include a Norfolk Oscar Award from the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce in 2008; an Administrator’s Award from the Nebraska Community College Association in 2009, and the J.G. “Jack” Elliott Award from UNMC in 2010 for forging a partnership with NU and UNMC to bring university-level nursing education to northeast Nebraska.

Dr. Don Oelsligle, chairman of the Board of Governors Human Resources committee, said of Dr. Path.  “He has taken Northeast Community College to the next level of excellence.  We will bid him good-bye with our very best wishes for great success as he goes to Oklahoma.”

A national search will soon begin to find a replacement.

“In the interim between presidents, the mission of Northeast Community College will be flawlessly carried out by a senior administrative team,” Phillips said.  “Our students and the communities we serve will not be affected in any way during this transition period.  We will continue to offer an exemplary education to our students and service to the communities in the 20-counties of northeast Nebraska.”

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