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Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura to Retire

GREENFIELD — The president of Greenfield Community College (GCC) announced he will retire after 17½ years of service to the college and community. President Robert Pura told the faculty and staff that he will retire in June 2018.

During his opening-day remarks to GCC’s faculty and staff on Aug. 31, Pura reflected proudly on many things that the college community has achieved since he arrived in 2000, including:

• Creating the Testing Center, Wellness Center, Advising Center, Vet Center, and the Department Studios, as well as work with the courts and the jail, creation of the GCC Food Pantry, and development of the Senior Symposia;

• Experiencing extensive building renovations to the north and south wings, a new roof and weatherization of the East Building, and creation of the Greenhouse, the Outdoor Learning Lab, and the new Core building; and

• With the GCC Foundation, raising a total of $14 million, awarding 139 scholarships last spring, building the endowment to $5 million, among other accomplishments.

Speaking to the faculty and staff, Pura noted that “you understand that all that is good and right about education is found here in your classes, in your offices, and in each of you. You make good on the promise and the hope of a quality education for all. You are truly the Ellis Island of higher education, and you have indeed created ‘the balancing wheel of the social machine,’ one student at a time. You have given me the great honor and privilege of leading this beautiful college, working shoulder to shoulder with each of you. Thank you for all that you do, and thank you for all of the ways that you have changed my life for the better. I do love you, and will always love GCC. When I think about this semester, this year, and into the future, I have this overwhelming feeling of optimism.”

Robert Cohn, president of GCC’s board of trustees, praised Pura’s work, saying, “Bob Pura has been a great gift, not only to Greenfield Community College and Greenfield, but to the entire Massachusetts community-college system. He is highly respected across the Commonwealth and the country as an outstanding leader who cares more about students and their success than any other factor. I’ve never worked with someone who is as smart, strong, funny, and successful, yet who approaches his work with no ego. I am honored to work with Bob at GCC.”

In addition to 39 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in the Massachusetts community-college system, the past 17 as president of Greenfield Community College, Pura is also a graduate of a community college. As the first in his family to attend college and the child of an immigrant, he said he understands what a community-college education can mean to students. “Opening the doors to higher education to all who aspire to a better life for themselves and their families while at the same time maintaining high academic standards is the noblest mission in higher education.”

The GCC board will assemble a search committee, with the goal of choosing a new president within a year. “The person privileged enough to serve as the next president of GCC,” Pura told faculty and staff, “will have the extraordinary opportunity to work with each of you and to build on all of their successes.”

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