Utah Valley Community College is more than a vocational school, trade school or junior college - it is all that and more, according to Kerry D. Romesburg, the college's new president.
Romesburg, speaking at a meeting of the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce, said, "UVCC is the community's institution and is responsible to the community and to meet the community's needs."Members of the community should be aware that the college is for them, and Romesburg believes that a major part of his reponsibility is to educate and inform the public about the facilities and educational opportunities at the school.
"Ninety-two percent of the the student body is from Utah. Seventy-eight percent of them are from Utah Valley. That's what a community college should be," he said. "I think our institution can be an enviable part of the economic development of this community."
Romesburg said that last year more than 200 county businesses had connections with the college in training or assisting students in various programs both on and off the campus. This interaction involved 10,000 people, he said.
Romesburg and his family have lived in Juneau, Alaska, for the past 13 years while he served as executive director of the Alaska Commission on Post-secondary Education. He replaces former UVCC President J. Marvin Higbee, who resigned nine months ago after disclosures that he spent school money for personal phone bills and family country club use. Lucille Stoddard, vice president of academic affairs, served as acting college president since Higbee's resignation.
"I am aware of what went on before I came," Romesburg said, "and I want you to know there has been excellent administration out there (at the college).
"I have come here with a clean slate, and I would like to hear comments from the community on how to improve the college."
Romesburg gave an open invitation to Chamber members to visit him and the facilities at UVCC.
Perhaps the biggest concern Romesburg and other administrators at the college have is the proposed tax initiatives, which if passed, would reduce government revenues by a projected 6 to 13 percent. Romesburg said that would cause a massive reduction in faculty, programs and ultimately the number of students able to attend the community college.
"If we eliminate entire programs you'll find we won't be able to serve the community or industry. The future's in your own hands. Don't make wrong choices," he said.
"If reductions are made I'll turn away out-of-state students before Utah Valley students," Romesburg said. "We may also have to rely more and more on part-time faculty. And that would not be advantageous to the school."