The Board of Directors of Portland Community College (PCC) has unanimously elected Adrien Bennings as the college’s next president after a nine-month national search.
Bennings will replace Mark Mitsui, who is retiring at the end of June after serving as PCC’s president since 2016.
Bennings could not be reached for comment at the time of this post. Specific details, including how much PCC will pay her as president, have yet to be released.
“The college will sign a contract with Dr. Negotiate Bennings, which then has to be approved by our board,” PCC Public Relations Manager James Hill told The Chronicle. “We expect that to happen later this month.”
President Mitsui earns $293,296 a year, according to Hill.
The search process relied on a 23-member committee chaired by Board members Tiffani Penson (Vice Chair of the PCC Board) and Dan Saltzman, who advised the PCC Board on candidates and procedures. Feedback from the college community and outside stakeholders, based on public forums with each of the finalists, was also considered before the PCC board made its decision Monday night.
“We were enormously impressed by Dr. Bennings’ passion for the transformative power of community colleges,” said Mohamed Alyajuri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of PCC.
“DR. Bennings brings proven strengths as a strategic thinker and transparent decision maker; as a skilled and collaborative communicator, relationship builder and fundraiser; and as a strong advocate for equitable academic success.
“We believe their unique combination of strengths, skills and attributes will advance our college, enhance our culture and benefit the students and communities we serve,” said Alyajuri.
Bennings is currently President of Kellogg Community College, one of 28 community colleges in Michigan serving three counties. She is also President of the Kellogg Community College Foundation, helps guide the foundation’s strategic planning and fundraising activities, and champions equity, diversity and inclusion.
Bennings has taught courses in people development, academic development and retention, and small business development. She has held progressively senior positions in higher education for more than 15 years. Before joining KCC, Bennings was vice president of administration and finance and chief financial officer at Clovis Community College in New Mexico. Previously, she served as the regional director for small business development at Texas Tech University, where she spearheaded economic development initiatives in a 16-county area. She also serves as a certified reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.
The PCC Board’s decision to select Bennings makes her PCC the first female President to be permanently selected for the role. Sylvia Kelley, formerly Executive Vice President of PCC, served as interim president of PCC from 2015 to 2016 prior to Mitsui’s arrival. Kelley retired from her role as Executive Vice President in October 2021.
Alyajouri shared the PCC Board’s appreciation for the work of the Advisory Committee on the Search for the President; for leading Penson and Saltzman as co-chairs of the search committee; for the partnership of RH Perry & Associates, the search firm; and for the other finalists and candidates. He also thanked President Mitsui for nearly six years of exemplary work on behalf of the college.
Benning’s educational background includes a Doctor of Philosophy in University Administration from Texas Tech University; a Master of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Wayland Baptist University; and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University.
Portland Community College is Oregon’s largest postsecondary institution, providing education, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 educational centers or serviced areas, and approximately 200 community sites in the greater Portland area. Covering a 1,500 square mile area in Northwest Oregon, the PCC District offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and lifelong learning.
For more information, visit the PCC website for finding presidents.