LIBERAL, Kan. — On an afternoon bright with golden autumn colors, Seward County Community College employees gathered in the outdoor amphitheater to meet their new president. Brad Bennett, halfway through his first week heading the college, told team members that “SCCC is the only school I would have left for, after 12 years in Colby … and that’s because of your commitment to student success, and your amazing support from the community.”
Bennett expressed his excitement about taking the helm at Seward, a feeling he shares with his wife, Lindsay, and the couple’s two daughters, ages 5 and 7.
“We’re committed to being here. This is going to be our home,” he said, noting that the family has already purchased a house.
In his introduction, Bennett assured employees that he “is not the type of person to come in and change everything.”
“Let’s do the things we do well, and look for ways to make them better,” he said. “We can always improve on communications.” Other areas of focus include keeping the campus beautiful with a voluntary work day, strengthening online education as a complement to (rather than a replacement for) on-campus classes, and increasing employee participation in the SCCC Foundation’s annual drive.
While he affirmed the importance of increasing enrollment in the wake of the COVID-19 downturn, Bennett kept the mood light with one of his “signature lame jokes.”
“Someone asked the sun why he didn’t enroll in college,” he said, then paused. “Because he already had a million degrees.”
Bennett also encouraged team members to maintain a focus on “why we do the work we do,” which ties back to the students themselves. A major car accident at age 15 and a long recovery from brain injury gave Bennett, who’d always been a 4.0 student prior to months spent in a body cast, a new appreciation for committed teachers. He recounted the story, noting that relationships are just as powerful as grades and policies.
These days, that philosophy extends even to his wardrobe choices.
“You’ll notice that I wear a lot of crazy socks, which my daughter picks out for me every day,” he said. Her selection for Wednesday was a multicolored stripe.
Following the meeting, employees gathered around Bennett to introduce themselves.
“What should we call you?” one group asked.
“You can call me Brad,” he replied.
Community members can meet Bennett via radio at 9 a.m. Wednesday on La Mexicana and 9 a.m. Thursday on KSCB, as well as through appearances at various civic clubs.