New Camden County College president hopes to boost student retention through affordable education

Camden County College President Don Borden (left) is congratulated by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross after a press conference in Taft Hall on the Blackwood campus.

Less than a week before Camden County College's newly appointed president officially assumes his role, the county Board of Freeholders and the college board of trustees introduced Donald A. Borden to the community.

Borden addressed county officials and faculty, staff, and students Thursday morning in Taft Hall at the college's Blackwood campus. The college appointed Borden as its fifth president April 5 and he will start Wednesday.

“As long as I’m in this position, we will be student-centered. We will be students first, students second, and students last,” Borden said. “My intention is to keep moving this college forward.”

After the nationwide search for a replacement for Raymond Yannuzzi — who last fall announced he would step down at the end of the academic year after serving as president since 2006 — the college's board of trustees appointed Borden, who joined the college last summer as its executive vice president.

Borden, who previously served as superintendent of the Audubon School District, said he would continue thinking like a teacher to figure out the best way to recruit, retain, and help students complete degrees. For full-time students who began in the fall of 2011, about 3.6 percent graduated in two years and 11.2 percent graduated in three years, according to the college Annual Institutional Profile Report. The graduation figure did not include students who transferred.

Borden said he is humbled by the opportunity to serve as president and is excited to serve the surrounding communities with partnerships and outreach programs. He emphasized the need for affordable post-high school education and living-wage jobs.

“We really are a public service organization that takes the needs of the community we serve, figures out a way to provide what they need to get the training necessary to have those kind of career opportunities, and make that happen,” Borden said.

While maintaining an affordable education, Borden said, he would like to boost the college’s partnerships with area high schools, business leaders, and Rutgers University. He said he would like to make it possible for more students to graduate from high school with college credit.

The college will continue to be a “second chance” for many people, he said, welcoming adults who returned to college or those who never went.

U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross also expressed his excitement for the future of the “great institution” at the event Thursday. He noted that he and his mother were both Camden County College alumni, and he commended the college's flexibility, affordability, and equality.

Dan Flisser, an assistant professor at the college, attended Thursday’s conference with about 15 of his students in a summer biology class.

Flisser said it was important to bring his students to the introduction “in order to give them all a full picture of what the college can offer.”

John Hanson, the board president and also an alumnus, noted the importance of community input in the search for a president to hear everyone's voice.

“We made the right decision, and this college is in good hands, and it’s headed in a very positive direction,” he said.

eserpico@philly.com
856-779-3912