SCC Board of Trustees Welcomes New President to Meeting
Ronald Chesbrough attended his first board meeting as president of St. Charles Community College Monday night.
The room was the same, the agenda was just as lengthy, but there was someone new who sat at the front table Monday night with the St. Charles Community College Board of Trustees.
The new face was Ronald Chesbrough, who attended his first board meeting as the new president of the college. Chesbrough, 54, was selected by the board on Aug. 27 to become the third president of the college in its 25-year history.
Chesbrough started on Oct. 3 and spent two weeks with retiring president John N. McGuire to provide for a smooth leadership transition, college officials said.
McGuire’s last day was last Friday.
“Monday, I guess, was really my first day,” Chesbrough said. “It’s exhilarating and yet there is some anxiety.”
But Chesbrough said he’s looking forward to getting to work for a college that his said is already a “great institution.”
There was no major first action when he arrived Monday morning. He had no problems finding his office—unlike his very first day on Oct. 3 when he had to ask for directions.
He made no major announcements at the meeting, letting staff discuss agenda items.
Because of the college’s success and stability, Chesbrough said there is no need for radical change.
Getting to know all aspects of the college and college life along with the life of the community are his priorities now, he said. On his schedule early Tuesday morning was a chamber of commerce meeting.
The college already has a rich educational tradition, and it’s vital for the community in helping prepare young and older workers to meet the area’s workforce needs, he said.
The learning process may take six to nine months and will help him address the college’s needs, he said.
He does know the St. Louis area because his wife Anne grew up in North County, and he’s visited the area often. He and his wife have five daughters.
Chesbrough was vice president for student affairs at Hastings College in Hastings, NE before coming to St. Charles Community College.
He was selected from a field of 41 candidates after an eight-month search. A committee representing faculty, staff, students and community residents participated in screening and interviewing the candidates.
William Pundmann, president of the boar, and chair of the search committee, said Chesbrough’s 24 years of experience prepared him well to become the college's third president.
Chesbrough had served as vice president for student affairs at Hastings College since 2005. He was responsible for a $1.2 million budget and the administration of the student life division, and the Kemper Program in Social Entrepreneurship, a grant program that serves to expand student and faculty involvement in service learning. He was involved in institutionwide budget planning and construction of budgets up to $30 million.
During his tenure at Hastings College, enrollment increased. He also worked with the college foundation to raise money for facilities, and he wrote federal and private foundation grants that resulted in more than $8 million in awards.
Before joining Hastings, he served as dean of students from 1993-2005 and from 1989-1993 was the director of Upward Bound, both were at Johnson State College in Vermont.
At the board meeting, Pundmann asked for a welcoming round of applause for Chesbrough.
“Our board believes you have a bright future with us,” Pundmann said.
He noted faculty accomplishments at the meeting and took note that college employees had exceeded their fundraising goal for the United Way of Greater St. Louis fundraising campaign. In 2010, Chesbrough was chair of the South Central Nebraska United Way fundraising campaign
Chesbrough thanked the board and McGuire for their support, and he lauded McGuire’s work during his 15-year tenure at the college.
“I won’t disappoint you,” he said.