COLLEGE PRESIDENT SPOTLIGHT: VCCS State Board Awards Germanna’s David Sam President Emeritus Status
Submitted by Mike Zitz, GCC
Germanna Community College President David A. Sam, who will retire at the end of June, was awarded president emeritus status by the State Board for Virginia’s Community College on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Richmond.
“We’re pleased that the VCCS Board and Chancellor Glenn DuBois approved our recommendation that they name Dr. Sam a president emeritus,” said GCC Local College Board chair William Thomas of Culpeper. “Germanna has made great progress under Dr. Sam’s leadership.”
During a decade at Germanna, Thomas said, Sam has guided GCC through a perfect storm of the Great Recession and an ongoing series of state budget cuts coinciding with a rapid increase in enrollment.
“Dr. Sam provided calm, steady leadership during turbulent times,” noted Teri McNally, the city of Fredericksburg’s representative on the Local College Board and a GCC Educational Foundation Board member. “He led through Germanna through a recession, state budget cuts and an earthquake, managing to take care of our student body, our faculty and our staff in spite of it all.”
As Sam approaches retirement, Thomas said, there are modern new facilities, new programs – and most importantly, a 183 percent increase in degrees awarded in the 2015-2016 academic year over 2006- 2007.
Bruce L. Davis, a longtime member of the Gemanna Educational Foundation Board, said Sam faced a daunting situation soon after he arrived at Germanna in 2007 as the Great Recession was about to begin.
“The recession took a huge toll,” Davis said. “It was a real challenge.”
In spite of that, student success at Germanna has increased steadily during Dr. Sam’s tenure with the number of degrees awarded annually doubling.
During Sam’s time as president, Germanna’s total headcount soared to a total headcount of more than 13,000, and the college expanded its Fredericksburg Campus in Spotsylvania, offered the first classes at the Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper and added centers in Stafford and Caroline counties.
Sam launched the first-ever capital campaign at Germanna, with the lofty goal of $10 million: The campaign exceeded its goal, raising $12 million–an unheard of sum for a community college. From 2007-2015, Dr. Sam raised $26.5 million, including donations, grants and local funds.
The funds led to the opening of a new Caroline County Center, helped build the new Science & Engineering Building and Information Commons at GCC’s Fredericksburg Area Campus, and will lead to an expansion of the Stafford Center and a permanent location in that county. They also funded the start of two programs–the Germanna Scholars and the Gladys P. Todd Academy– both of which make it possible for local students to earn their associate degrees at little or no cost while still in high school and then transfer to universities.
Germanna also will open the Fredericksburg Center for Advanced Technology in Central Park in 2017 as Sam’s presidency approaches an end.
Under Sam’s leadership, Germanna:
• doubled the number of students in its nursing program,
• established an engineering program,
• began a physical therapy assistant program, and
• started a student success initiative that includes Student Success Coaches.
In addition to the 183.3 percent increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded annually:
• Credit side enrollment climbed 61 percent.
• FTEs jumped 43.5 percent.
• Non-credit Workforce enrollment increased 1,028.3 percent as Sam and Dr. Jeanne Wesley took a sleepy program and turned it into one that meets community needs for training.
• The number of Workforce courses climbed 1,675.7 percent.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life,” Sam said, “to have served as president of Germanna.”
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