Less than a week after Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson, Moberly Area Community College president, was in Hannibal to celebrate the groundbreaking of MACC's new home in America's Hometown, the college has announced that Jorgenson is leaving Moberly to become president of Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Ark.
"It was an incredibly difficult decision," said Jorgenson of leaving MACC.
Members of the local Affordable Community Education (ACE) Committee expressed optimism that the departure of Jorgenson will not negatively impact MACC's efforts in Hannibal.
"I can't imagine that anybody who might succeed her would not be real happy with this (building) project going forward," said Casey Welch, ACE president.
"I think the culture of the college is collaboration, so I'm really not too concerned at all," said ACE member Sally Poole. "That's just kind of the community college culture. They work really well with the communities they serve."
"We are still operating the same as we always have," said Wendy Johnson, director of MACC's Hannibal site. "Her leaving MACC is not going to change anything to do with the new building and the progress of the new building in any way."
"I have to be honest, I don't think it (change of presidents) will have any impact at all," she said. "The great people that I've got working here understand how important it is to the Hannibal community to have that higher education center. The Hannibal community has contributed and raised funds. We did a groundbreaking last week. The construction documents are signed. It's off and going, so there's just no doubt it's going to be built and no doubt that the facility will be there in Hannibal and continue to operate for decades. I don't see there being any change in that at all."
Welch acknowledged there may be interest from potential donors regarding MACC's change in presidency when ACE members continue their fund-raising efforts.
"I understand there may be people who have questions," he said. "I think that we can easily alleviate anybody's concern just by showing them how successful Moberly Area has been in all its satellite campuses. There's just a growing need for all the services they provide, especially in our area."
Departing in June
Jorgenson will depart from MACC on June 30 after 16 years at its helm. She has been with the college a total of 26 years. Of the 12 community college presidents in the state, Jorgenson currently has the longest tenure in office.
"We're certainly sorry to see her be leaving. From our experience she's been tremendous to work with. We wish her the best," said Welch.
"We have become friends over all this time working together on this (Hannibal) project," said Poole. "I'm going to really miss her. She has been a visionary leader at the school and she has been such a partner with Hannibal. She has worked so hard on this project and is just an incredible partner."
Page 2 of 2 - "I have tremendously enjoyed working with her over the last 13 years that I have been with MACC," said Johnson. "I wish her well in her new endeavors."
The outgoing MACC president will remember her relationships in Hannibal fondly.
"It's just been a great working relationship," Jorgenson said. "There are a lot of good people in the Hannibal area that I will miss. There's no doubt."
According to a press release, MACC's Board of Trustees will begin the process of selecting the college's next president in the coming weeks.
"I know that MACC is in good hands. Everything is in good, stable condition. There are good people working here and a great Board of Trustees. I know they'll find someone who will be a very good fit for the presidency," said Jorgenson.