Potential Merced College leaders to give open forums

abutt@mercedsunstar.comMay 24, 2012 

The community will have opportunities next month to meet with the four finalists for president of Merced College.

Jim Riggs, Angela Fairchilds, Steve Maradian and Ron Taylor will each have an open forum sessions in June at the college.

Riggs is a professor of community college education at California State University, Stanislaus, according to a press release. Fairchilds is president of Woodland Community College, while Maradian is interim superintendent-president of the Lake Tahoe Community College District. Taylor is the superintendent-president of Feather River College in Quincy.

Last year, Ben Duran announced that he would retire as Merced College president effective Dec. 31, 2011. In December, the college board of trustees voted to approve a proposal to bring Duran back as interim president from Jan. 1 through October 2012.

Duran agreed to be the full-time interim president from Jan. 1 to July 1. After that, he'll serve as an on-call consultant to the new president through October.

Robert Haden, chairman of the search committee, said the panel hopes the new president can start on July 1.

The president search committee, made up of 18 people including community members, faculty, classified staff and management, received 40 applications for the job, he said.

Out of those, he said the committee narrowed the field to 14, three of whom were hired by other organizations during the Merced College search process.

Over the course of a few days, the search committee interviewed nine or 10 applicants, Haden recalled.

The four candidates are really "quality candidates," he said. "Any of the four would be fine for Merced College," Haden said.

"We encourage the community to come out for our open forums and meet the candidates over these two days. This is the most important decision the college is going to be making," said Robin Shepard, Merced College spokesman.

Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or abutt@mercedsunstar.com.

WHAT: Candidate Open Forums for Superintendent-President position.

WHERE: Lesher Student Services Center, Room 111.

WHO AND WHEN: June 4 , Monday, 10 a.m., Jim Riggs; 1 p.m., Angela Fairchilds.; June 5, Tuesday, 10 a.m., Steve Maradian; 1 p.m., Ron Taylor.

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