ccDaily > Newsmakers


​(From top left) Liang Chee Wee, Geraldine Perri, Wayne Burton, Allen Bonnell and Robert Silverman


Liang Chee Wee, president of Northeast Iowa Community College, and members of his staff were honored last month by the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees for their leadership, innovations, excellence in teaching and local impact.

Geraldine Perri, superintendent and president of Citrus College in California, has been named Educator the Year by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu for serving her congressional district. Under Perri’s leadership, which began in 2008, the college has seen the highest number of graduates in its 98-year history.

Maxine Colm, who helped engineer the purchase of the grounds upon which the Blackwood Campus of Camden County College (New Jersey) has operated for more than 45 years, has received an honorary degree from the college. Colm also served as a charter member of the college’s trustee board as well as the board’s chair for 13 years. She currently assists the institution with development initiatives.

Catherine O’Brien, San Jacinto College (Texas) associate vice chancellor for learning and assessment, has been selected as the Texas Community College Instructional Administrators 2013 Ray Williams Outstanding Leadership Award recipient. Over the past five years, O’Brien has led faculty and student services teams that have redefined the college’s general education outcomes; reviewed, revised and updated college degree requirements; integrated student success course outcomes in all technical programs; and established a revised core curriculum to be implemented this fall.


Wayne Burton, who has served as president of North Shore Community College (NSCC) in Massachusetts for 13 years, retired on July 31. Burton’s tenure has included four consecutive years of double-digit enrollment increases, resulting in the college’s highest ever graduating classes. He created a culture of championing student success, boosting the college’s innovative academic programs. Burton brought service learning to the college and established NSCC’s Public Policy Institute, the only one of its kind at a community college in New England, with initiatives ranging from community outreach to research and forums on public policy issues. Prior to NSCC, Burton served as business dean at Salem State University.


Allen Bonnell, the founding and first president of the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) in Pennsylvania, passed on July 20 at age 101. Bonnell spearheaded the development of CCP by leading a research effort resulting in the creation of the Philadelphia Committee on Higher Educational Opportunities in 1957, followed by a proposal for a Philadelphia community college in 1962. He retired in 1983 and has served as president emeritus since 1993. Some of Bonnell’s former roles in higher education have included: fellow and vice president for industrial science at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; member of the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Universities; and president of both the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities.

Robert Silverman, who served as president of Mount Hood Community College from 2001–07, passed away on July 22 due to health complications. The 64-year-old retiree was instrumental in expanding MHCC onto a third campus, the Bruning Center for Allied Health Education. “Dr. Silverman was a dynamic leader who served Mount Hood Community College with enthusiasm and a commitment to our mission,” said current MHCC President Debra Derr.

Robert Pedersen, a longtime member of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges and a former employee of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) died on July 15. Pedersen was well-versed in community college history, finance, governance, leadership and policy issues. He was also instrumental in organizing groups such as the Community Colleges of Appalachia, serving as its first director. At AACC, Pederson served as editor of the Community College Press in the mid-1990s. Following his retirement from AACC, he served as a senior fellow at the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center.


Karishma Brownlee has joined Oakton Community College in Illinois as coordinator for access, equity and student rights, a newly-created position. Previously, Brownlee worked for two years as an outreach educator at the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center. She has also served as residence director at Lake Forest College. 

Jennifer Bryan has joined Wake Technical Community College Foundation in North Carolina as its director of strategic partnerships. Bryan most recently served as executive director of the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce, a position she held for 18 years.

Godwin Chungag is the new dean of Division III at Aims Community College in Colorado. He will oversee programs ranging from automotive technology to aviation, behavioral and social sciences to early childhood education and education. Previously, Chungag held several leadership positions, including associate dean of general education and dean of academic affairs.

Anna Cathleen Greiner is now dean of online and extended education at Irvine Valley College in California. She has served in various positions at the University of California, Irvine Extension, Chapman University, National University and the San Luis District.

Colette Hands has joined Oakton Community College (Illinois) as director of workforce development and corporate training. Previously, Hands served for seven years at North Park University as director of career development and internships and as associate director of the school of business.

Kristopher Julian recently joined Randolph Community College (North Carolina)—his alma mater—as director of marketing. He previously was self-employed as a graphic designer.

Paula Pitcher is now vice president of enrollment management, research and planning at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts. Most recently, Pitcher served as assistant dean of institutional research, planning and assessment at Atlantic Cape Community College (New Jersey). She has also served as dean of administrative services and planning at Salem Community College (New Jersey) and director of institutional research at Southwestern Michigan College.

William Watson is now dean of instruction of liberal arts at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) in Maryland. Watson came to CCBC in 1978 as an adjunct faculty member in music. He advanced to full-time faculty and has held various leadership positions in the music program, including chair of performing arts and humanities.

Hope Wright is now director of the veterinary technology program at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee. She has more than 18 years of experience in private practice.

At Pasco-Hernando Community College in Florida, Stanley Giannet is now provost of the Porter Campus; Bonnie Clark is provost of the Spring Hill Campus; Donna Burdzinski is associate provost of North Campus; and Bob Bade is dean of student development and enrollment management. Giannet was previously provost of North Campus, where he had also served as dean of arts and sciences. Clark previously served as associate provost of Spring Hill Campus and most recently was dean of arts and sciences. Burdzinski had served as dean of student enrollment and retention; and Bade was associate dean of student activities and engagement.

At Rockland Community College in New York, Nayyer Hussain is now vice president of finance and administration; Thomas Della Torre is dean of academic and community partnerships; and James Robertson is director of institutional research. Most recently, Hussain served as interim vice president of finance at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. Della Torre previously served as interim dean of academic affairs and director of academic support services at the college. Robertson’s previous experience includes 15 years at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, where he was assistant director of planning and research.