LIBERAL, Kan. —Dr. Greg Gunderson will serve as the 12th president of Seward County Community College, following a vote by the Board of Trustees Monday night. Gunderson’s official start date is Dec. 1. SCCC Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander will continue as Interim President until then.
“I’m incredibly pleased and honored to be the next president of SCCC,” Gunderson said, “in part because they do tremendous work — the success rate is the envy of a lot of community colleges across the country — and because of the tremendous community it serves.”
Gunderson, who was one of three candidates invited for an on-campus interview, attended the SCCC Foundation Party Auction Sept. 25 with his wife, Laurie, as part of the couple’s decision-making process. He said the Festival of Colors impressed them both.
“People couldn’t be more warm and inviting,” he said. “We’re looking forward to being part of the community, getting to know people one on one.”
SCCC Board Chair Ron Oliver said he shares Gunderson’s sense of anticipation.
“I’m looking forward to getting him on board,” Oliver said. “I think he’ll be a good fit.”
A self-described “child of the Midwest,” Gunderson holds a PhD in Education Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and comes to SCCC from Park University, a private, non-profit, four-year institution in the Kansas City area serving 15,000-plus students in 39 locations. At Park, Gunderson served as President and CEO for five years, followed by a year as President Emeritus in support of the college’s transition to its next president.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Higher Learning Commission accrediting body, and is a former board member of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Originally a tax accountant who worked for Arthur Anderson & Co. of St. Paul, Minn., and ConAgra, Gunderson moved to higher education in 2002 with a financial director position at University of Nebraska. After completing a doctoral degree, he served as Vice President and CFO for Webster University in St. Louis. This role at the private, non-profit institution took him around the world, launching a new campus in Ghana and renovating a site in Vienna.
While Park’s campus centers operate in 22 states, Gunderson relishes the opportunity to settle into a smaller campus setting that allows for more student-focused leadership opportunities.
“It was time … to more deeply dive into regional economic development and a single campus setting that would allow my wife and I to leverage our strengths and desires to be more embedded in the lives of the students we serve,” he wrote in his letter of application.
In the coming months, the Gundersons will move from their home in Omaha to Liberal, where Gunderson is eager to get to know a community that is, as he put it, “as wonderful as the community college itself.”