The president of Schenectady County Community College is leaving his post to accept a more lucrative offer overseeing a much larger system of campuses in western Pennsylvania.
Quintin Bullock, who entered the second year of his three-year contract with SCCC in September, was hired Tuesday as president of the Community College of Allegheny County, a system with four campuses and more than 60,000 students. Though it’s unclear when he’ll leave Schenectady, his contact stipulates he must give at least 90 days’ notice to the Board of Trustees, which would place his departure on March 4.
Denise Murphy-McGraw, the board’s president, said Bullock’s new employer would rather him be there by New Year’s Day. She said SCCC’s trustees will now need to discuss whether it’s better to allow him to leave before classes start in mid-January or midway through the spring semester.
“We’re trying to fulfill our responsibility to students,” she said. “We’ve got to find out what will be the least disruptive.”
Bullock will earn a salary of $239,000 at his new job, according to a report published in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. His most recent contract with SCCC called for a $163,900 salary, plus a $3,000 longevity bonus that was due to kick in next year.
Murphy-McGraw lamented Bullock’s looming departure, crediting him with doing more for SCCC in his short tenure than any other leader in the college’s history. She said Bullock helped bring to fruition long-stalled initiatives like the college’s new music hall and student housing.
Under Bullock’s tenure, the college completed a 264-bed student housing facility and a 13,000-square-foot music wing addition. He also helped implement a $11.2 million grant from the Department of Labor to train people for health care careers and oversaw an initiative to establish an extension site for the college in downtown Albany — a location that is expected to begin offering classes in January.
But Murphy-McGraw believes Bullock’s enduring legacy will be the new partnerships between education and industry he helped forge. These included initiatives with the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for nanotechnology courses and student internships; General Electric Co. to develop alternative energy technology and battery storage technology programs; and the Schenectady City School District to develop a model Smart Scholars Early College High School.
“I believe his greatest legacy will be the quality and number of academic programs launched under his leadership,” she said. “From nanotechnology to logistics to casino gaming, we are now on the cutting edge of the most rapidly growing careers.”
Bullock could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. Attempts to reach a spokeswoman from the Allegheny County college system were also unsuccessful.
Bullock, who has a doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, was serving as provost at Tidewater Community College in Virginia when he was hired by SCCC to replace longtime president Gabriel Basil in December 2008. He was selected from a pool of three finalists, even amid concerns his strong educational background and relatively young age meant he might use SCCC as a career stepping stone.
“It was one of the things we talked about when we were thinking of hiring him,” Murphy-McGraw said. “When it was down to a small pool of candidates, he was younger and he was clearly on the upswing of his career.”
Bullock made motions to leave SCCC several times after he came to Schenectady. In November 2010, he was among three finalists for the presidency of Stark State College — a school of roughly 20,000 students in Ohio — but later removed himself from consideration.
In February 2012, Bullock was again among three finalists for the presidency of Frederick Community College, a 6,200-student institution in Maryland. His job search landed him some embarrassment in Schenectady when a Maryland newspaper quoted him describing his job at SCCC as a “Chevrolet” and his prospective position in Maryland as a “Cadillac” — a comment some took to mean the out-of-state college was more desirable.
SCCC’s trustees stood behind Bullock, claiming his comments weren’t intended to offend. Bullock also offered an apology for his choice of words, though he didn’t ultimately get the job in Maryland.