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Young Resigns As Northwest State President

Will Take Over North Carolina College With 25,000 Students


Betty Young

Betty Young

Betty Young, Northwest State Community College president, resigned the position to become president of the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Ashville, N.C.

Her resignation was announced in a press release Tuesday, Aug. 7. Her last official day on campus is Friday, Aug. 31. She held the post for four years.

Young said she was drawn to the North Carolina post because of the state community college system, and by the college, known as A-B Tech.

“To start with, the North Carolina system is a comprehen- sive system, that has enjoyed tremendous success. State support has held tuition down, and encouraged people to attend.

“Second, in particular, A-B Tech has been a very innovative college, in terms of programs, online education, and international contacts,” she said.

“They have a regional economic development center on campus. These are things I care about deeply.

“Their tag line is, ‘dedicated to student success.’ That’s been my passion. It’s a good match,” Young said.

Carol Peterson, chairman of the A-B Tech board, said the board was attracted to Young “because she is so vivacious, she’s a real go-getter.”

“We have a great college here, and we’re looking at Betty to take this college in some new, outstanding directions,” Peterson said.

“We were really, really drawn to her for so many reasons. The experience she has, not only in higher education, but she has degrees in business law, in accounting, she’s been a business owner,” Peterson said.

“We’re thrilled to get her, just thrilled.”

Young’s salary will go from the $119,000 per year at NSCC, to $176,000 a year as head of AB Tech. The increase is $57,000, or about 47.9%.

A-B Tech

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College serves almost 26,000 students in regular curriculum and continuing education programs, Mona Cornwell, A-B Tech director of communications said.

An NSCC press release put enrollment at Northwest State at about 7,000.

The college has three campuses, one located in Asheville, a city of 65,000 in Buncombe County, N. C.,

Another campus, located eight miles away in Enka, N.C., was created in 2000, after the German chemical and industrial giant, BASF, donated land and buildings to A-B Tech. Cornwell said the company donated three buildings, with a total of 277,000 square feet, located on 37 acres.

It was the largest such donation to a community college in history.

A-B Tech also operates a campus in Marshall, in Madison County, N. C.

The college offers 60 credit programs that lead to a degree or diploma, plus more than 1,200 continuing education programs.

Kenneth Ray Bailey had been A-B Tech’s president, until he retired, effective Aug. 1. He had held the president’s post since 1990, and had been an employee of the college since 1966.

“Last September, he had what he called an episode, in which he had a heart blockage, and doctors put in a pacemaker,” Cornwell said.

“That, in part, prompted his decision to retire.”

Cornwell said Bailey announced his retirement in January, and a search committee, with the help of a consulting firm, went to work.

There were 56 applicants. Cornwell said that was cut to 26, then 15, then six.

Finally, three names were presented to the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges, and the board unanimously elected Young on Mon- day, Aug. 6.

Not Shopping

Young said she had not been searching for a new position, not “shopping her resume around.”

She said she had been nominated for presidencies at a couple of colleges. She had been a finalist at Parkland Community College in Champaign, Ill.

“I think what’s really interesting, is when you are approached or nominated or recruited (for a presidency) it’s not about you, but the institution your leading at the time,” she said.

Young listed some of her accomplishments, including the educational guarantee, which states that if an employer or other college is unhappy with a NSCC student’s knowledge, Northwest State will take that student back and add to their training.

During her tenure, NSCC also is requiring all students to take at least one online course.

She said, “It’s not Betty Young, it’s the campus that has accomplished these things. I’ve just had the job of being the lead person.”

Plans for finding Young’s replacement have not been finalized. She said NSCC board of trustees will meet this month to discuss the question.

September, she said, will be a month of transition, with her traveling back and forth between both campuses.

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