NANTICOKE – The president of Luzerne County Community College said she’s considering an offer to head a New Jersey community college.
Patricia C. Donohue is a finalist for the presidency at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, N.J. She said she expects to decide within a week whether to leave LCCC after four years as the head of the two-year college.
If she accepts the job, she must reach an agreement with the college’s Board of Trustees to be released from her $135,800 contract, which expires in 2008. If she chooses to leave, Donohue will begin work at Mercer in February.
“It’s kind of an awkward time to give any information about it,” she said. “There isn’t a final deal there yet. It is certainly a wonderful opportunity and hopefully there will be a final deal in the near future.”
Donohue was approached by the national recruiting agency, the Association of Community College Trustees, several times before she considered adding her name to the pool of candidates.
If she leaves LCCC, Donohue will become the second high-ranking administrator to depart the college this year. Former provost Dustin Swanger left the college in June to become the president of the Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, N.Y.
Donohue’s possible departure comes at a crucial time for LCCC, which is in the midst of a $41 million expansion plan. The plan includes the construction of a new drill tower and burn building at the Public Safety Training Institute and a $12 million Life Sciences building.
She said most of the public funding for the college’s master plan is secured and the capital campaign is self-sustaining and can proceed in her absence under the direction of the Board of Trustees and her possible successor.
Trustee Mahmoud H. Fahmy said that if Donohue leaves LCCC, the board would have to come to a collective decision on who will succeed her. Trustees would conduct a national search to find her potential replacement.
“We will sit down and decide on a transition that will not really impact negatively on the college,” Fahmy said.
Donohue was named LCCC’s first female president in September 2002. She previously served as vice chancellor for education at St. Louis Community College in Missouri, and worked a seven-year stint as an administrator at the Harrisburg Area Community College. She is the fourth head of the college in less than a decade.