A crowd of faculty, staff and local business and government officials were on hand Wednesday to welcome Bradley Ebersole to his new post as president of Washington State Community College.
"I'm glad to see the community support-it will certainly make my job easier," Ebersole said of Wednesday's gathering.
He officially took the reins at the college on Sept. 1, coming to Washington State from his previous six-year position as vice chancellor for academic affairs at Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
New Washington State Community College President Bradley Ebersole, right, is welcomed by Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen during a reception at the college Wednesday afternoon.
Before that Ebersole was an assistant to the vice chancellor at the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland.
"I've always been a community college person," he said. "And I began my education at a community college."
Ebersole said his plans for the immediate future include getting to know students, staff and the local community.
"But I also plan to work with the faculty and staff and help them to do the best teaching possible in the classroom," he said. "This is a great community college and I want to grow enrollment and to be sure we're involved in supporting the local business community and economic development."
College board of trustees member Holly Dexter said a four-month search was conducted before Ebersole was brought on board.
"We're excited to have Dr. Ebersole," Dexter said. "Students, faculty and deans all seemed impressed with him.
"We wanted someone who could be all and do all-promote the college, foster relationships between the college and businesses and work closely with faculty and students. I think he's the right person for this job."
Ebersole is replacing former president Charlotte Hatfield, who remains a consultant for the college through the end of the year. He will receive a two-year contract and an annual salary of $150,000.
Employees said they were optimistic about the college's new leader.
"I think he'll be a great fit for this institution," said John Richards, who works in the college's information technology department. "He's easy to talk to and listens to what you have to say. And he maintains an open-door policy for faculty, staff and students."
Among the visitors at the reception Wednesday was Harold Shank, the new president of Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg.
"OVU and Washington State have some cooperative programs," he said. "And it's important to network with local colleges."
Steve Stalnaker, who took over in December as general manager of the Hino Motors plant in Williamstown, said Wednesday's reception was also his first opportunity to visit the college.
"We're highly interested in technical education, and wanted to meet the new president and understand more about what this school has to offer," he said.