Portland Community College’s board of directors has confirmed the selection of Jeremy Brown as the college’s next president.
The announcement was made at the monthly board meeting on Thursday, April 18, at which Brown’s contract was ratified. He will begin his work with PCC on July 1, replacing Preston Pulliams, who is retiring June 30 after serving as president since 2004.
“The board of directors is united in its choice of Dr. Brown as the strongest contender to build on the success PCC has achieved under Dr. Pulliams’ leadership and to lead the college to even greater success through the challenges and opportunities ahead, ” said Denise Frisbee, chair of Portland Community College’s board of directors and co-chair of the college’s president search advisory committee. “Dr. Brown is a collaborative leader skilled at creating strong internal and external relationships; a polished communicator who is insightful and inclusive; a quick learner talented at navigating new environments with new players; and an innovator who will look for opportunities to strengthen PCC, even when budgets are tight.
“These are the skills and talents that PCC’s board of directors wants and needs in its next president,” added Frisbee.
A native of Manchester, England, Brown has served as president of Dowling College on Long Island and of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, part of the state’s public university system. At Dowling, Brown helped support an increase in applications, retention, annual giving and a variety of new academic programs. During his four-year watch at Edinboro, the university saw record high enrollment, retention and annual giving. Brown’s tenure there also included oversight of more than $200 million in new and future construction projects.
Prior to these roles, Brown was the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York in Canton from 2003 to 2007. In addition to four-year degrees, SUNY Canton offers two-year degrees in a variety of technical education disciplines – dental hygiene, early childhood, veterinary science technology and criminal justice, among others. This experience enabled Brown to understand the critical importance of workforce development and career technical education, as well as the institution’s role in preparing students to transfer.
Before SUNY Canton, beginning in 2000, Brown served as the chief executive officer of Florida State University-Panama, an American university in Latin America, where he learned to speak fluent Spanish.
“I am thrilled to be coming to Portland to lead PCC at this time and, thanks to the excellent work of Dr. Pulliams, I am fortunate to take the helm of an institution that has an exceedingly strong foundation,” said Brown. “From a very personal standpoint, I understand the power of higher education and the doors to opportunity that can open because of it. At the age of 13, my father dropped out of school so that he could help support his family financially. My mother returned to college to be trained as a special education teacher. However, both my parents recognized the value of education and pushed us to excel academically. Being raised in England, I was incredibly lucky to have been selected to attend university on a full scholarship.
“I know, at my core, the value of what higher education can do for students,” added Brown. “And as a former faculty member, I have first-hand knowledge of the challenges faculty face, what students need, the questions they have, and what motivates them to learn. I am beyond excited to apply my experience to PCC and to learn from the exceptionally dedicated faculty and staff at PCC as I become acquainted with the college.”
He added that his family – wife Rebeca and four-year-old son Andrew – can’t wait to move to Portland this summer, where they’re sure to become avid Portland Timbers fans.
An academic by training, Brown earned both his bachelor of science degree and his doctorate in physics from the University of Birmingham, England. His doctoral work in experimental nuclear physics was conducted at both the University of Birmingham and the University of California-Berkeley. He spent two years at Indiana University pursuing physics research, followed by a faculty position in the physics department at Princeton University.
In addition to authoring several scholarly papers and articles, he was a visiting scientist at the University of Manitoba, Oxford University, and the National Accelerator Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. Brown made the transition into academic administration when he became associate dean of the graduate school at Yale University, followed by a return to Princeton as the associate dean of faculty.
“Oregon is on the cusp of a paradigm shift, with pending education reform requiring even further collaboration among community colleges and universities,” said Frisbee. “Dr. Brown’s extensive administrative and instructional experience across all higher education sectors will be an asset to PCC as we work to improve coordination across institutions and increase student success in order to meet the state’s aggressive higher education goals. Exciting times await PCC, and the board of directors is confident that Dr. Brown is the right choice to lead PCC through these times.”