St. Clairsville -- President Joseph E. Bukowski has announced plans to retire this summer from Belmont College.
Bukowski has served as president of Belmont College since 1998 and is the 6th and longest serving president. President Bukowski announced his plans to retire at the January 2014 Board of Trustees meeting.
"I will always cherish my time at Belmont," he said. "Words cannot express how proud I am of the way the College has grown during my presidency. The faculty and staff have been a tremendous asset to not only me but also the College as a whole. I expect that you will see nothing but continued success in the future."
Prior to coming to then Belmont Technical College, Dr. Bukowski was the Provost of the Palm Beach Gardens Campus of Palm Beach State College. During his 16 year tenure, Bukowski led Belmont College through several transitions including: expanding course offerings in Monroe County, creating the Belmont College Foundation, gaining community college status, and changing the College name from Belmont Technical College to Belmont College.
Mrs. Elizabeth Gates, Chair of Belmont's Board of Trustees, said they will begin to look for a new President immediately and a search firm will be utilized to assist in the search. Mrs. Gates said the Trustees plan to have the successor begin in July 2014.
One of the initial tasks facing the new President is the construction of the new Health Sciences Center. A majority of the funds for this $9.1 million project have been secured through the State of Ohio and from Belmont College's capital improvement fund.
To secure the funding needed for the facility, the Belmont College Foundation has embarked upon a fundraising campaign to solicit contributions from individual donors, business and community partners. A modern health sciences center will allow for additional labs with increased capacity, additional course offerings, a study area, increased parking, and state-of-the-art equipment.
Although Dr. Bukowski will retire before the Health Sciences Center is scheduled to be completed, he has made significant contributions to the new building.
It was Dr. Bukowski's vision for an expanded Belmont College campus that led to the purchase of the original 45 acres where the new Health Sciences Center will be built.
In addition, he was instrumental in securing the former Polaris property; the additional purchase gave the College ownership of a tract of land that runs from State Route 331 to Hammond Road. He has not only helped to secure funding and donations, but has also been active in the design phase for the Health Sciences Center.
As a community college graduate, Dr. Bukowski credits much of his determination and career success to the educational foundation he gained at the junior college level. Community colleges such as Belmont College provide not only an affordable alternative to more expensive four-year institutions but also a way for students to stay close to home, current employment, and family.
]"Dr. Bukowski has served Belmont College well," Mrs. Gates said. "His passion for a community college education has certainly helped to move Belmont through the ranks to gain a solid reputation in this community."