Cathy Summa-Wolfe, Director
Communications & Community Relations
College of Marin President Wins Harry Buttimer Award
KENTFIELD, Calif.— March 2, 2010 — The Association of California Community College Administrators has awarded the prestigious 2010 Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award to Frances L. White, Ph.D. who serves as College of Marin superintendent/president.
In honor of the late Harry Buttimer, a founding member of ACCCA and its first Legislative Commission chairperson, the award recognizes a community college CEO for demonstrating integrity, principle, compassion, strength in leadership as well as his or her contributions to colleagues, the profession, the college and the community.
“I can think of no better recipient for the award this year than Dr. Fran White,” said Helen Benjamin, chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District. Dr. White has demonstrated throughout her career, “her commitment to the mission of the community college and taking great care to always do what is best for students.”
Like Buttimer, whose contributions helped to establish the Association as a stakeholder in community college finance and legislation and his leadership helped to set the foundation for programs and services today, White has helped guide College of Marin through numerous challenges and set the college on a visionary course. Throughout her 38 years as a college faculty member and administrator, Dr. White has consistently contributed to colleagues and the profession. She accepted the award at ACCCA’s 35th annual conference in San Francisco on Feb. 18.
“None of her positions have been easy, but she has faced all of the challenges with dignity, strength and purpose,” Benjamin said.
White has served as head administrator of the Marin Community College District for the past five and a half years, guiding the college through difficult times. She is credited for stabilizing a district once plagued by decades of declining enrollments, crumbling classrooms, financial instability, poor community acceptance, and on the brink of accreditation meltdown. To put a recovery plan in place required more than strategic direction, but also powerful personal qualities, according to several COM Cabinet members who nominated White for the award.
“It is particularly meaningful to me to receive this award at this time as I begin to prepare for my imminent retirement in June,” Dr. White said. “I was very moved to read the letters of support for my nomination that were submitted by members of the Academic Senate, COM Board, Classified Senate, college staff, elected officials, community leaders, past Buttimer Award recipients, and CEOs and CIOs from other academic institutions across the state and country. It is truly an honor to receive this award and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve as COM's superintendent/president for the past six years.”
In addition to teaching in the EDD Leadership Program at San Francisco State University and mentors both doctoral students and up and coming administrators, White has served in numerous leadership positions including: the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges, Executive Committee and chair of the AACC Presidents Academy, member and former president of the Association of California Community College Administrators, American Council on Education, Office of Women in Higher Education, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the San Rafael Rotary.
She has earned the Presidential Leadership Award from the Network of California Community Colleges Foundations and the Women in Business award from the North Bay Business Journal and been the subject of a number feature stories in regional magazines and newspapers.
ACCCA, a professional organization serving administrators and managers of California's 110 community college campuses, has about 1,200 members. Also honored at the February conference were Arvid Spor, dean of enrollment services at El Camino College, who was named the Volunteer of the Year, and HMC Architects, a San Jose firm that was named Corporate Partner of the Year.
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