Glouco College president resigns amid reports of impropriety

The president of Gloucester County College resigned Thursday amid reports that he is being investigated by local law enforcement.

Russell Davis had been president of the college since September 2008 and is the sixth person to hold the title. He tendered his resignation to the college’s board of trustees.

“All information gathered to date has been forwarded to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office,” the college said in a statement released by spokeswoman Eileen Shute. The school will not have additional comment on the matter, Shute said.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office said it would issue a statement about the case this afternoon.

In his letter, Davis wrote that “While I offer this resignation with some trepidation, I focus on all of the achievement and accomplishment over the last four years.

“I had the opportunity to embark upon an enormous opportunity, worked with some of the most prolific leaders and faculty and staff in our business, and had the opportunity to lead one of our country’s best county college’s anywhere,” he wrote.

“To the faculty, students, staff, and Board, I offer my sincerest appreciation for having had the opportunity. I wish you the best in the selection of the next leader of the institution, as I will always have a part of GCC with me wherever I go,” Davis said.

State Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), former freeholder director for the county, said Thursday that there had been debate when Davis was hired about “some questions of his past” related to financial issues when he was in Maryland.

Sweeney had supported him, he said, because “I was a big believer of people having a second chance in life.”

Sweeney said he wasn’t familiar with the current allegations, but he said Davis had done a good job.

“I was a big fan of Russell’s,” he said.

The school was the risk of losing accreditation and morale was low when Davis was appointed, Sweeney said.

After he came on board, Sweeney said, enrollment increased and the school passed accreditation with “flying colors.”

Before becoming president of the Gloucester County College in Sewell, Davis was the school’s acting and interim president and was vice president of student services.

The college has more than 6,000 full- and part-time students in degree programs and about 10,000 in continuing educations classes.

Davis, a Wilmington, Del., native, was raised and educated in the New Castle County school system and completed his bachelors degree in English Education at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., in 1980, according to his professional biography.

He received his masters degree in counseling psychology from Hampton University in 1982 while also teaching English in Newport News and Virginia Beach, Va., public schools

In 1992, Davis became vice president of student and academic services at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md. He served on the faculty of several other colleges in Maryland, including Prince George’s Community College, Frederick Community College, the Community College of Baltimore County and Cecil Community College.

In 2002, Davis joined Morgan State University in Baltimore as a research scholarship recipient and received his doctor of education degree in higher education.

The Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce recognized Davis as the “2009 Business Person of the Year” for excellence in services, ethics, innovation, and communication to county residents and business.

Under his leadership, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted to reaffirm accreditation of Gloucester County College through 2018.