Tuesday May 22, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Ellen Kennedy fits the profile for Berkshire Community College.

On Tuesday, BCC's trustees unanimously recommended the current interim president to be the college's seventh president in its nearly 53-year history.

Trustees Chairwoman Susan Lombard called Kennedy "the right person for the right time."

Kennedy has been serving as BCC's interim president since January, when Paul Raverta retired after seven years. Before that, Kennedy was vice president for administration and finance and chief financial officer for the college.

Kennedy will meet with Richard Freeland, the state commissioner of higher education, and his associates on June 12. The state Board of Higher Education will vote June 19 whether to approve the trustees' choice.

With no red flags foreseen, Kennedy is likely to be permanently in place by July 1.

Kennedy was one of three finalists. The others included Steven G. Budd, president of River Valley Community College in Claremont, N.H., and Valerie R. Roberson, vice president of academic affairs at Joliet Junior College in Illinois.

"They are all well qualified on paper," said Trustee Raymond Dunham.

Thirty-eight people applied for the job.

On Tuesday, Lombard lauded the presidential search committee, led by trustees vice chairman Ross Dindio, for its professionalism and transparency.

During a 43-minute comment and voting period at BCC on Tuesday, each voting trustee offered comments on the three candidates and described Kennedy's edge over the other two. Several trustees ranked Roberson as their second choice and Budd as their third.

The trustees agreed that it was the feedback from public forums and from 134 survey responses that confirmed their selection.

The survey responses gave Kennedy high marks for her experience with the college and Berkshire County, as well as her financial background, commitment to students, and convivial leadership style.

"Most [of the comments] endorsed Ellen Kennedy as the right choice," said trustee Pamela Roberts.