Barbara Larson, executive vice president of finance and administrative services, is retiring after nearly six years. Her retirement reception was held today from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in COM 155, next to the food court.
Larson oversaw the functions of the college which can be referred to as the “business side of things,” such as financial services like accounting and payroll, information services, the bursar’s office, business services like documentation and procurement of materials, housekeeping, grounds work and maintenance. She was also involved in various other functions, such as meetings involving the construction process on campus and the team in charge of deciding when the college is closed due to weather.
“What I’ve loved about my work over the years is that I don’t think any day is very typical,” Larson said. “I support areas that assist with our mission of instruction and student services…I report directly to the president, so I’m advising him on financial and facility issues and keeping him and the board of trustees informed.”
Replacing Larson is Randy Weber, current vice president for student success and engagement. Weber will only be stepping in temporarily, though; since president Sopcich has also announced his retirement this year, the college decided to delay the process of choosing Larson’s successor.
“I think Sopcich saw that it’s important for the next president to identify what they want in this position,” Larson said. “Once a new president is on board, he or she would advertise the position and find someone on a permanent basis.”
Weber doesn’t see himself making many changes once he steps into Larson’s position, but plans on bringing his own style to the role.
“I respect Larson tremendously,” Weber said. “There are definitely…styles of hers that I anticipate following, but one of the things I think will be important is that I lead in the manner in which I know how. I think that’s the reason I was asked to serve in this capacity…But, I don’t anticipate any meaningful changes, especially on an interim basis.”
The exact timing of Larson’s retirement stems from a series of personal plans falling into place. She and her husband plan on owning a small farm in Virginia and have recently purchased land there. Despite Larson’s excitement at post-retirement life, there are many things she will miss, like graduation ceremonies of all forms.
“I really love [it here],” Larson said. “The people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know here are extraordinary. I love that we are a community college and what that means in terms of being a very special place for students.”
Larson’s reception included cake — “people know I love cake,” Larson joked — and speeches from various coworkers.
“She’s been a tremendous asset to this college and it’s great to witness the respect and gratitude she’s been shown on her way out,” Weber said. “Her regular successor will have big shoes to fill.”