Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College (PA), has been named the next President & CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc., (ATD) the national, nonprofit leader in championing evidence-based institutional improvement across U.S. community colleges. She will remain at the College through the current academic year and assume leadership of ATD on July 1, 2015.
“Our College has been fortunate to have such a quality leader, mentor and individual as Karen Stout serve as the president of this great institution for more than 14 years,” said Michael J. D’Aniello ’78, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “We wish her every success and look forward to all she will achieve in developing policies and strategies to extend access to quality community college education for minority and low income students nationwide.”
Stout’s 14-year tenure at Montgomery County Community College has been remarkable for the broad initiatives that both expanded the college’s footprint and strengthened student success. She has led the development and implementation of three strategic plans and two facilities master plans that resulted in the expansion of the West campus in Pottstown, the expansion and near re-making of the Central campus in Blue Bell; a new Virtual Campus, a Culinary Arts Institute, new occupational and transfer programs, strong relationships with community partners, and new relationships with school districts and colleges and universities. In addition, the College’s 50th Anniversary, $9 million fully-private College Foundation campaign for scholarship support is on track to exceed its goal.
Stout has served at the helm of Montgomery County Community College since 2001. Her appointment is both a natural next step and a vote of confidence based on successful leadership of the College’s participation in the ATD program since 2008, her role as president of an ATD Leader College since 2011, and the winning of ATD’s prestigious Leah Meyer Austin award in 2014. She has led the College to statewide and national prominence in its work around student success, technology and analytics, and sustainability. The new post will enable her to make a broader impact; ATD reaches 200 community colleges and nearly four million students in 35 states.
“I am proud of our leading work at Montgomery in so many areas,” Stout said. “I’m eager to extend the learning from this work to help community colleges across the country. There is an increasing call for us to help the citizens in our communities gain access to affordable post-secondary education as well as complete an experience that leads to successful employment and citizenry.”
Stout succeeds Dr. William E. Trueheart, ATD’s founding president & CEO, who announced his retirement from the independent nonprofit on October 30, 2014. Robert G. Templin, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Achieving the Dream, Inc., made the announcement at the organization’s annual convening in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Stout leaves the College well positioned for the future. The College’s next president will arrive with the Middle States decennial review near completion, and the strategic plan to 2016 in its final year of implementation. A self-study conducted by the administration is complete and offers a new president a roadmap for the future based on the College’s strengths while the establishment of an early retirement plan offers a new president the opportunity to build, hire, and train the faculty of the future. The College’s first facilities plan is complete and a second is underway with funding secured for renovation of a new Health Sciences Center, an expanded Science Center on the Central Campus, and a growth strategy in place for the West Campus. In addition, strategies for enrollment development and student success are in place and showing momentum.
D’Aniello and the Board of Trustees will conduct a nationwide search for a president who can build on Stout’s momentum.
“In 2000, when we embarked on a mission to find the College’s fourth president, the single most important character trait was to find and individual who truly carried in their heart our core mission: to provide the citizens of Montgomery County and all our students, no matter their economic status, the highest quality education at the most affordable tuition possible,” D’Aniello said. “In January 2001, we found that person in Karen Stout. As we look toward our next leader, those core values will remain paramount.”
“Community colleges are at a crossroads in redesigning their work to support the economic and civic needs of our country for the next 50 years,” said Stout. While she is drawn to the challenge, Stout acknowledged that moving on was a difficult decision.
“I love Montgomery,” Stout said. “Mostly, I will miss our students and our alumni who show us in so many ways why the work we do is important. Their stories of aspiration and success motivate me to serve.”