Jon Stewart not to return to Board of Trustees

By Mike Abell
 Photo courtesy of the college

Photo courtesy of the college

The monthly Board of Trustee meetings will take place next fall as scheduled, same time, same place. However, not all current board members will return. Only one current board member will not be present.

Trustee Jon Stewart decided not to run for reelection earlier this year after serving 11 years on the Board of Trustees. As of now, Stewart has been on the board the longest out of the current members. He said the decision was made because it was time to step down and there is a lot of talent on the current board. Addition¬ally, he noted the economy is also doing much better.

One of the things he said he’ll miss the most about being a part of the board is the people, not only his fellow board members, but everyone on campus.

“Certainly I will miss the interaction with the administration, staff, faculty and students,” he said. “For me it is all about the great people you meet and work with. That is what I will miss the most.”

In addition, Stewart noted that a lot of his accomplishments were only achieved because of a team effort between the board and administration.

The board typically decides and votes on financial decisions for the college, although it’s not limited to that. What he considers to be one of his biggest accomplishments has nothing to do with the college’s finances. It had to do with trust between faculty and administration.

“You really cannot accomplish much as an individual,” he said. “Great things are accomplished through collective efforts. One of the proudest accomplishments that I participated in was rebuild¬ing trust at the college following the controversial departure of our longtime president ten years ago. We worked with faculty and administration to navigate through a very difficult time.”

Being a board member, Stewart, like others before him, has had to make difficult decisions in regards to cutting certain positions over the years. The state of the economy tends to dictate the amount of positions needed on campus.

He said there wasn’t just one difficult decision he had to make that stood out to him, because they were all difficult in their own way.

“I cannot think of one most difficult decision that was made during my tenure on the Board of Trustees. There were many difficult decisions that were required as we navigated through the economic downturn. Whether it has been in my business career or as a Trustee, the most difficult decisions for me are those that may impact employees adversely. Eliminating programs and staff is not done lightly, because your actions are affecting individuals and their families.“

Stewart also mentioned that moving forward, one issue that the college must focus on is helping students prepare for the future by providing the right classes and programs.

“The college must constantly assess how it can improve serving students and the community in an evolving world of education.

Are we offering the right classes and programs that give our students the best opportunity to compete and succeed after they leave JCCC?”

He said the college has always helped community members change their lives through opportunities and programs offered by the college even before he started.

One way the college has changed was by navigating through the economic downturn in 2008. It wasn’t an easy time, but he said it made the college that much stronger.

“We had to make difficult decisions on where to focus our efforts and where to eliminate expenses. Navigating through that difficult period of time has made JCCC a more efficient institution and has established a decision process of assessing and measuring outcomes to help direct resources to areas that are supporting our mission.”

These next couple of months don’t entirely mark the end of Stewart’s time at the college. While he is stepping down from the board, he will be joining the foundation board in order to help raise money for scholarships and programs. He is also looking forward to traveling and playing some golf with his wife.

Stewart has held his spot on the board the longest out of the current seven members. His time serving has been met with plenty of accomplishments and challenges. However, through it all, he has enjoyed his experience.

Ultimately, he summarized his time serving as a “tremendous experience.”

“… I would encourage anyone interested in the future of JCCC to consider serving as a Trustee. We have an amazing asset that is serving many needs in this community. JCCC is transforming lives each and every day. Seeing this firsthand is very reward-ng.”



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