Tuesday was the last day at work for longtime Columbia College President Dr. Gerald Brouder.
Tears welled in Brouder’s eyes as he walked out the front door of the administrative building of Columbia College for the last time as its President, hand in hand with his wife Bonnie. Waiting for him were scores of staff, students and alumni, lining the sidewalk all the way out to the street about 100 yards away. Brouder has headed the Columbia College system for 18 years, which now has 35 campuses nationwide. Staff credit him with significant gains in the College’s use of technology, strengthening its science offerings, and increasing academic rigor.
John Yonker, who is heading the search committee for Brouder’s replacement, says the goal is to have a new president hired by July 1st of next year.
“Today is a very emotional day. It’s a bittersweet day. We all loved Dr. Brouder and rejoice in what he’s done for us, but we’re glad now that head n his wife have a chance to enjoy some retirement. And you know he’s not going to do nothing, he’s told me he’ll do some volunteer work, he might teach again. He’ll be very active in the community,” Yonker said.
Yonker says the search is in a 'silent phase' now as the committee proceeds with its work. But the committee plans to make a list of 3 to 5 finalists for the job public near the end of the year, and bring the candidates on campus early next year.
Click through the photos above to see a slide show from Tuesday's "clap out" ceremony.