Coconino Community College welcomed its new president, Colleen Smith, Monday morning.
Smith, a former college president and CEO from Texas, was chosen as the college’s new president in September, but did not officially begin her duties until February 1. She took over for Veronica Hipolito, who had been serving as the interim president since June.
The college began the search for a new president after Leah Bornstein announced her resignation in May. Bornstein served as CCC president since 2007.
Smith was chosen as the college’s new president after a series of public forums with the governing board’s top five candidates.
In the public forums, Smith said she was active in legislative work at Cisco College in Cisco, Texas, where she served as president and CEO. Most recently Smith was the district senior vice president of academic affairs for Collin College in McKinney, Texas.
Smith also said she had experience working with fundraising, and said she planned to approach the community and local leaders about why the community college is worth funding.
“You have to ask for what you want and explain why you need it,” she said.
In the August forums, Smith said she planned to spend her first few weeks in office getting to know faculty, staff and students and observing how the college worked.
“I want to collect as much information as I can from all directions,” Smith said in August.
"Everyone I have met at Coconino Community College has shown a sincere concern for students and learning,” Smith said in a statement Monday. “CCC has a strong district governing board with dedicated members who bring varied life and work experiences to support the college. The opportunities I have had to interact with them have demonstrated that they truly care about the college and the communities of Coconino County.”
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