New leader at community college Howard County: Duncan known for fund-raising prowess and technology education.

March 06, 1998

IF MARY ELLEN DUNCAN arrives at Howard Community College next summer the way she is departing the State University of New York system, the Columbia campus will not starve for the resources it needs as it moves into the 21st century.

Dr. Duncan, who was named Tuesday as HCC's first permanent female president, spent the day of her selection lobbying state legislators in Albany for money to support her SUNY campus at Delhi. In seven years at the 1,800-student campus southwest of Albany, she has gained a reputation as an active fund-raiser and imaginative administrator.

She used the school's golf course to teach turf management, landscape architecture and other programs, and to raise money for scholarships, faculty development and investment in technology.

If Dr. Duncan can raise private money on golf courses to strengthen Howard Community College's programs for recent high school graduates, displaced workers and others, more power to her.

She was chosen from a field of 70 candidates, including the other finalist, Alex Johnson, provost and vice president of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.

On July 1, Dr. Duncan will succeed Dwight A. Burrill, who retired in September after leading Howard Community College for 16 years. In the interim, the school has been led by Linda C. Jolly, an experienced administrator who also would have been a good choice had she offered herself as a contender for the permanent position.

The new president's familiarity with Maryland and its community college system should serve her well. She is a former dean of planning and development at Catonsville Community College in Baltimore County who now oversees the technology education component of SUNY.

HCC Chairman David A. Rakes describes Dr. Duncan as "a visionary leader" who understands the role of technology. That is important for the 5,081-student campus at a time when area businesses are demanding that community colleges -- indeed, schools at all levels -- turn out students ready to work in a high-tech economy.

We wish Dr. Duncan well as she leads HCC into a new era.

Pub Date: 3/06/98

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