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Pulliams honored with regional CEO award
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College President Preston Pulliams was awarded the regional CEO of the Year award for 2008 through the Association of Community College Trustees.
Another PCC staff member was recognized by ACCT – Lorna O’Guinn, assistant to the Board of Directors, District Vice President and Vice President Administrative Services – who was selected as the regional Professional Staff Person of the Year. O’Guinn, a resident of Southwest Portland, has worked in her current job since 2005. Both are eligible for the ACCT’s national awards to be determined later this year.
Pulliams is in his fifth year at the college and is a member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. He came to PCC after serving as vice-chancellor for Community Colleges for the State University of New York, where he coordinated and directed the activities of the 30 community colleges in the New York system. Before joining the administration, Pulliams served as president of Orange County Community College in Middletown, N.Y., from 1997 to 2003. From 1993 to 1997 he was president of the Highland Lakes Campus of the Oakland Community College District in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He served as vice-president for student affairs at the Community College of Philadelphia from 1985 to 1993, and he also served as dean of student services and counselor at Muskegon Community College (Michigan) from 1972 to 1984.
“He has a combination of intelligence, compassion, vision and commitment that make him ideally suited to lead our institution and to serve as a role model for many aspiring community college leaders,” said PCC Board Chairperson Denise Frisbee. “He works hard to develop and maintain good relationships with each Board member and to work with us as we get to know one another better and develop a stronger sense of purpose and priorities. He respects our roles as members of the governing Board. He has encouraged an open relationship with senior staff at the college and we highly respect the leadership team he has assembled.”
Pulliams, who lives in Aloha, Ore., took over as PCC’s fifth president in 2004. Some of his accomplishments include:
• Steering PCC to receive ACCT’s 2008 National Equity Award through a wide array of innovations. PCC has raised the percentage of part-time faculty, full-time faculty and managers who are people of color. Today, PCC is the most diverse post-secondary educational institution in Oregon.
• Dramatically enhancing support for the PCC Foundation – Annual donations have increased from $581,000 in 2003-04 to more than $1.31 million in 2007-08.
• Creating an innovative Center for Business and Industry (CBI) that serves as a single point of contact for employers interested in workforce education and training services – CBI-generated services and revenues continue to grow each year.
• Establishing PCC as a leader in older adult programming – Pulliams testified before the U.S. Congress Special Committee on Aging in 2007 on PCC’s innovative approaches to serving the older student.
• Meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to discuss PCC’s programs for training the technicians who maintain operating and emergency room technology throughout the nation.
• Convening a taskforce of faculty and students to guide the college’s efforts in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, signing the college and university Presidents Climate Commitment.
• Taking the lead role in a plan to make Portland Community College tobacco-free in 2009: PCC is one of only three – and by far the largest – post-secondary institutions in Oregon to make this move.
• Pulliams is an active trustee of the American Association of Community College Trustee’s Advisory Committee of Presidents; American Association of Community College’s Global Education Commission; American Council on Education’s Commission on Effective Leadership; Community College Research Council; Workforce Investment Board; OMSI; and the World Affairs Council, to name a few.
In addition to his experience in community college administration, Pulliams has taught at the graduate and undergraduate level, and for several years taught civics, psychology and geography at a junior high school in Michigan. He has done extensive research and writing on student achievement, minority student success, counseling at the community college level and on establishing effective working relationships between boards and college presidents.
Pulliams is a community college graduate, earning his associate’s degree in science from Muskegon Community College. He also received a bachelor’s degree in social science from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in counseling and personnel from Western Michigan University and doctorate in educational administration from the University of Michigan.
O’Guinn performs a full range of senior-level administrative support functions for the district board of directors; the district president; the district vice president; and the vice president of administrative services. Under their direction, she provides complex and confidential support requiring discretion and independent judgment in matters of significance.
“Everything about Lorna is focused on service, and in a way that befits the mission of community colleges and her status as a very visible public employee,” Frisbee said. “She operates continually from the perspective that her role is to ensure the College’s success by ensuring the Board’s success. She understands that the college, the board, and the district’s citizens will succeed only if the success is shared by all three.”