December 9, 2009

Owens Community College President Christa Adams Announces Retirement Plans

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH – Dr. Christa Adams, the fourth President in the storied history of Owens Community College, has announced her retirement effective Jan. 1 at the conclusion of the current Fall Semester.

With the support of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Adams announced her intentions in an e-mail letter to all Owens employees, and the Board of Trustees accepted her retirement plans at their December meeting. Dr. Adams said in her e-mail that Owens’ faculty, staff and students have made her Owens years the capstone of her career, and she hopes her next professional adventure will contain even a fraction of the rewards she has experienced at Owens.

“Dr. Christa Adams has touched the lives of thousands of students with her leadership and visionary approach to higher education,” said John C. Moore, Board of Trustees Chair of Owens Community College. “I have known Dr. Adams since 2001, when Owens Community College conducted a national search to choose the right candidate to lead our growing College into the 21st Century. She has opened the doors of learning to thousands and has ensured that we are providing the highest quality education to our students. Her leadership has made a difference in many lives and we are grateful to her for all she has done.”

An avid supporter of community colleges and the community college mission, Dr. Adams is dedicated to creating educational opportunities for students of all ages, from all walks of life. She began her presidency at Owens Community College on July 26, 2001.

Since that time, she has worked tirelessly to reach out and engage faculty and staff, as well as community and education partners, for the common purpose of educating students and strengthening the surrounding Northwest Ohio region. Under Dr. Adams’ leadership, enrollment has increased from 17,000 students in 2001 to more than 23,000 during the current 2009 fall term; academic programs both in the classroom and online have expanded in a wide range of high demand fields to meet business and industry needs; a shared leadership model has been established among the campus community; and the Owens Foundation was incorporated and the College’s Alumni Association was advanced.

Additionally, the College has acquired millions of dollars in public and private grants to enhance educational opportunities for students and Dr. Adams’ advocacy at the state and federal levels has helped to ensure ongoing funding support for the academic institution. Two years ago, Owens marked a monumental point in the College’s history as an Owens Learning Center opened at The Source in downtown Toledo. The overall mission and goal of the new Owens Learning Center is to provide Lucas County residents with access to higher education and career training.

Capital improvements projects during Dr. Adams’ tenure have included a new Center for Fine and Performing Arts, a relocated Findlay-area Campus and a new Center for Emergency Preparedness, which is the only state-of-the-art complex of its kind in the Midwest. In addition, the former Penta Career Center is currently under renovation and the College is expanding its educational opportunities to Arrowhead Park in Maumee for the upcoming spring term.

Also under Dr. Adams’ leadership, a new Success Scholarship Program initiative was unveiled with the help and support of the Owens Foundation. Founded in 2008, the program is designed to assists students in financial need, who receive only partial state and federal aid, attend college and bridges the gap between the grant aid a student receives and the cost of an Owens education. This year, 247 graduates in financial need from Whitmer High School, Findlay High School and other high schools within the Toledo Public Schools district are receiving a free college education on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, thanks to the Owens Foundation’s Success Program.

Dr. Adams’ board-level membership includes the Greater Toledo Urban League, the United Way of Greater Toledo, the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, the Findlay Chamber of Commerce, Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Cultural Arts Center. Dedicated to providing quality education to all students, Dr. Adams is a board member of Think College Now, a Northwest Ohio college access program, and she served on the School Reform Committee of the Toledo Public Schools. Her interest in technology and economic development led her to serve as a partner of the University of Toledo Science and Research Technology Corridor. Dr. Adams is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Growth Partnership and the Wood County Economic Development Commission.

At the state level, Dr. Adams has served on the Ohio Board of Regents’ Higher Education Funding Commission. She previously served as deputy to Governor Bob Taft’s Technology Action Board and as an Ohio team member of the National Governor’s Association Pathways to Advancement Policy Academy. Dr. Adams is a Consultant/Evaluator for North Central Accreditation’s Higher Learning Commission, and presently serves on its Accreditation Review Council.

In addition, Dr. Adams is a member of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges and a supporter of the National Institute for Leadership Development, which trains and mentors community college women leaders. She is a recipient of the Girl Scouts’ Woman of Distinction Award, the ATHENA Award, the YWCA Milestones for Women in Service Award for education, the Ann Aldrich Women’s History Month Award and the Spirit of Wood County Award. As a member of the NAACP, Dr. Adams developed Port Huron’s Minority Affairs Advisory Council and received the minority community’s Gold Star Award for service to minorities.

Prior to assuming the Presidency at Owens Community College, Dr. Adams served a five-year term as President of St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Mich.

Dr. Adams earned her doctorate in community college administration/ vocational education from Colorado State University. A resident of Perrysburg, she holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

One of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio, Owens Community College is a fully accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.