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President Accepts New Position; Interim President Named

Published: 7-21-2010 11:55 am

Wayne State College President Richard J. Collings has accepted the presidency at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina. His hiring was approved by Southwestern's Board of Trustees in June by the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges on July 16. Curt Frye, former Vice President and Dean of Students at Wayne State College who retired June 30, 2009, has been chosen to serve as interim president of Wayne State, effective Aug. 1.

Nebraska State College System Chancellor Stan Carpenter's recommendation of Frye will be forwarded to the NSCS Board of Trustees for approval in September. Frye began working at Wayne State in 1985, serving as associate dean of students, dean of students, and in 1993 was named vice president and dean of students. A native of Elk City, Frye holds a bachelor of science in education from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont and a master of science in education from Chadron State College.

"Curt was an integral part of Wayne State College for more than 18 years," Carpenter said. "He served as interim president at Wayne State in 2003, so his leadership and background made him the top choice to serve as interim president again. He understands the mission of the Nebraska State College System, and specifically, Wayne State, from the inside out, and he will serve the college well during the search for a new president."

Prior to coming to Wayne State, Frye was a teacher and coach at Cody/Kilgore and a guidance counselor in Neligh and Wayne. He and his wife, Dianne, have two children and two grandchildren.

"I am pleased to return to Wayne State and looking forward to renewing old friendships and acquaintances," Frye said. "Wayne State has been and will continue to be an excellent place to attend college. My plan is to ensure Wayne State continues to move forward as a strong, viable college."

Collings will be Southwestern's fifth president. He was appointed the 11th president of WSC in 2004 by the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State College System (NSCS). Prior to coming to Wayne State, Collings served as vice chancellor for academic affairs at Western Carolina University and provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

"Though we are certainly sorry to see Dr. Collings leave the Nebraska State College System, we wish him the best in his new endeavor," NSCS Chancellor Stan Carpenter said. "He had a wonderful opportunity to lead Southwestern Community College and be closer to his family." Collings and his wife, Marilyn, have children and grandchildren who live in North Carolina.

Under his leadership in the past six years, Wayne State College has grown stronger and the campus has undergone marked improvements. Some of the recent projects include the Carhart Science Building renovation and the Campus Commons, which transformed the center of Wayne State's grounds into a beautiful pedestrian walkway and gathering place.

"One very important highlight during Dr. Collings' time at Wayne State was his leadership in the South Sioux City College Center project," said NSCS Chair of the Board of Trustees Larry Teahon. "This unique center - that will open in January - is a history-making effort between Wayne State College, Northeast Community College in Norfolk and the Nebraska State College System to offer higher education to the Siouxland area."

Among his other accomplishments, Collings reversed a decade-long enrollment decline, improved graduation and retention rates and led a successful $20-million capital campaign at Wayne State. Carpenter and Teahon stated that Wayne State College will continue to be a strong, viable institution.



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