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Bucks County Community College names new president

Felicia Ganther will take over from Stephanie Shanblatt July 1 as the first Black woman to lead the institution

Making history: Dr. Felicia Ganther was unanimously selected to be the next president of Bucks County Community College. The Los Angeles, California native will be the first Black woman to lead the institution. Source: Bucks County Community College

Bucks County Community College has a history of long-standing leaders. Since its inception 57 years ago, only four individuals have led as president. This summer, a fresh face will embark on what she hopes is an equally lengthy and successful tenure at the school.

In a unanimous vote, the board of trustees appointed Dr. Felicia Ganther to be the fifth president of Bucks County Community College. The Los Angeles, California native is taking over from current president Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, who is retiring in June after 12 years at BCCC.

Ganther was officially introduced to the public at the board’s recent virtual meeting, during which she humbly accepted the job. She will be the first Black woman to lead the college.

“I look forward to the work that is to be done over the next 15 to 20 years,” Ganther said, adding that BCCC’s success thus far wouldn’t have been possible without Shanblatt and former president Dr. James Linksz. “I look forward to filling their shoes and moving Bucks forward. I hope that our partnership and coming together is going to move Bucks to higher heights and deeper depths.”

The extensive, 6-month national search for a new president was led by board member Blake Eisenhart, with assistance from Greenwood/Asher & Associates, an executive search firm that specializes in higher education. Eisenhart explained that it was a “strategically-focused search intended to enhance our visibility and renew our shared sense of vision and purpose for the future.” Ganther quickly became a frontrunner among candidates.

“Dr. Ganther will be a transformative leader for our students, our faculty, our staff, for Bucks County, for the region and perhaps, for the country,” said board member Phil Wursta. “She has a record of success, a wealth of community college experience, and a dynamic personality. It is my hope that Dr. Ganther will bring new ideas, approaches, experiences, outlooks and vision to our community.”

Ganther’s 3-year contract officially begins July 1. She is currently the associate vice chancellor and chief student affairs officer of the Maricopa County Community College District in Tempe, Arizona, a role she has held since 2012. Previous positions include executive director of student life and director of the office of student activities at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois.

She holds a bachelor of arts and master of arts from Norfolk State University in Virginia. Ganther also holds a juris doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School, and a Ph.D. in community resources and development from Arizona State University.

In addition to a strong background as an educator, administrator and advocate for students, Ganther brings to BCCC vast experience in crisis management, retention initiatives, student life, strategic planning and academic quality improvement.

“With our continued focus on the implementation of our strategic commitments, a successful reaccreditation and efforts toward inclusivity, Bucks will continue to innovate and reimagine how we serve and support our students toward transfer opportunities and career placement,” said Ganther. “I am honored to have been selected as the next president of the college and look forward to becoming part of this wonderful community.”

Shanblatt offered her congratulations to Ganther.

“Her academic credentials, experience and commitment to the high ideals of the community college make her amply suited to help write the next chapters in Bucks’ story,” said Shanblatt, who will work with Ganther over the next several months to ensure a smooth transition come July 1.

Saying goodbye: Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt has been president of Bucks County Community College since 2012. She will retire in June. Source: Bucks County Community College

A celebration of Shanblatt and all of her accomplishments at BCCC will be announced at a later date.

“It has been my honor to serve the students, faculty and staff at Bucks these last eight years,” she said. “The Science Center as a new campus landmark, expansion of health science programs and our workforce development footprint, and a new collaboration between credit and non-credit programs are a few of the things which stand out. Most importantly, we have focused on student success with many new initiatives that have demonstrably helped our students to graduate and transfer.”

Bucks County Community College has campuses in Bristol, Newtown and Perkasie. Visit bucks.edu or call 215-968-8000 for more information.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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