The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has chosen Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, a veteran community college leader and scholar, to lead the Washington-based organization, which represents more than 1,200 regionally accredited public two-year colleges. After a six-month national search, the AACC announced the Bumphus selection following the organization’s national board meeting late last week. Succeeding outgoing president Dr. George Boggs, Bumphus begins the AACC presidency on January 1, 2011.
The Texas-based scholar is a noted community college leader who served as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College system between 2001 and 2007. Currently, he is a professor in the Community College Leadership Program and chair of the department of educational administration at the University of Texas at Austin.
“The board has worked diligently to find the right individual to seize this moment and step up to the unprecedented challenges the nation is facing,” said Dr. Mary Spilde, chair of the AACC board of directors, in a statement. “We are confident that we have found in Walter Bumphus, a proven leader with the passion, energy, commitment and expertise to lead the nation’s community colleges to even greater service for our students, communities and country.”
In addition to having led the Louisiana Community and Technical College system, Bumphus has served as CEO at two community colleges: president of Brookhaven College (1991-1997) in Texas and chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College (2000-2001). Prior to becoming a community college president, Bumphus worked as dean of students and then vice president and dean of students at Maryland’s Howard Community College. He was also dean of students at East Arkansas Community College and began his career as director of minority affairs at Murray State University.
A native of Kentucky, Bumphus earned a B.A. degree in speech communications and an M.A. degree in guidance and counseling from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University Texas at Austin.
AACC officials say Bumphus assumes national community college leadership at a time when two-year institutions “have experienced a marked enrollment surge, fueled by a deep and protracted recession and persistently high unemployment,” according to the AACC.
Says Boggs in a statement about his successor, “Walter has been tested over and over as a leader, and he has consistently risen to every challenge. He brings both intellect and experience to the leadership of AACC, and he has a deep commitment to community colleges and the people they serve.”