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Editorial: BHC incoming president checks all the boxes

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Tim Wynes

 Wynes

When the Black Hawk College Board went searching for a new president, we doubt trustees expected to find a candidate with strong ties to our community who also had led a dual-campus system.

Yet, in incoming President Tim Wynes, BHC appears to be getting both valuable real-world experience and a familiarity and affection for the community we hope will translate to a long and effective tenure at a top-notch Q-C community college that has in the past seen a revolving door of leaders.

Indeed, longtime BHC staffer and former college president Bettie Truitt, who retired in 2017 after serving as president since late 2014, was the longest-serving of BHC’s presidents in recent decades.

Trustees obviously believe they checked all the boxes after successfully wooing the president of Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College in Minneapolis and his wife, Becky, to make their home in our community. Mr. Wynes’ past experience serving dual campuses is also one of the reasons he was so eager to apply when the BHC job opened up.

Like us, the incoming president sees the unique urban and rural campuses and the programs featured at Moline and at the BHC East campus near Kewanee as among the college’s greatest strengths. So, thankfully, does the current BHC board. That hasn’t always been the case.

Tim and Becky Wynes also are no strangers to the Q-C. Both have relatives from the area and they have visited often while their children attended Augustana College in Rock Island, a city Mr. Wynes’ father, Wes, once called home. The couple’s daughter graduated from Augustana in 2014, and their son is a member of the 2018 graduating class.

Each time Mr. Wynes had visited Black Hawk College over the last eight years, he told reporter Jim Meenan, he has found flourishing campuses “despite the uncertainty of state funding and a roller-coaster economy.”

During his two-day interview he also was greeted by “an enthusiastic student body with faculty and staff who are dedicated to student success and goal completion.” In addition to “good administration and great academics,” he adds, BHC’s “finances are very smartly handled, given the roller coaster that Illinois has been on.”

It’s a wild state financial ride that isn’t likely to end soon and the need to successfully navigate it is no doubt one of the things the board considered as it vetted what Richard Fiems, Black Hawk College Board chairman, called “an outstanding candidate pool” that responded to a nationwide search.

Choosing just four finalists was difficult, he said. Fortunately, the board had the help of a 16-member committee that included representatives of BHC’s board, staff, faculty, student body, as well as community members who have an association with BHC. In the end all appeared to be happy with the choice, a welcome level of community and stakeholder buy-in that could prove useful going forward.

“Mr. Wynes’ credentials, experience, enthusiasm and demeanor convinced all of the trustees that he will work hard for our students and our college community,” Mr. Fiems said.

“He is a professional educator as well as an extremely effective administrator,” Mr. Fiems said. “The board looks forward to working with Tim to plan a course for the future of BHC.”

For their part, the Wynes say they are eager to make their home here and “to become part of the community.”

We, too, look forward to their joining us and to seeing what Mr. Wynes will bring to this essential Illinois Quad-Cities’ higher education institution and hope for quick progress in inking a deal that will allow him to hit the ground running well before the BHC fiscal year begins July 1.

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