GREENPORT — Carlee Rader Drummer became the first woman president of Columbia-Greene Community College.
Drummer’s appointment, announced Wednesday, makes her the sixth president in the five-decade history of Columbia-Greene — a milestone for the college.
Drummer, president of Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Connecticut, was named to succeed James Campion. He has been at the helm of Columbia-Greene Community College for 19 years and will step down July 5.
The search for a new president was a months-long process that ended at the SUNY Board of Trustees.
“From spearheading a solar panel partnership between GE and Quinebaug Valley Community College to serving as an executive director of college advancement to holding multiple faculty appointments, Dr. Drummer’s leadership experience is impressive and diverse,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said in a statement. “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Drummer back to the SUNY family.”
Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall agreed that Dr. Drummer was the right fit.
“We are confident in Dr. Drummer and her abilities to continue to carry out the mission and priorities at Columbia-Greene Community College,” McCall said in a statement. “Dr. Drummer has a vast experience in higher education, focused on expanding academic and student life opportunities, which will serve as a great foundation to serve our students, faculty and the broader community served by the campus.”
Drummer said she was excited when she received the offer and is looking forward to her time on campus.
“The moment I set foot on campus, I knew I wanted Columbia-Greene to be my next home,” she said.
A former Long Island resident and a graduate of SUNY Stony Brook, Drummer is looking forward to coming back to New York and the SUNY system, she said.
“It’s a wonderful place to live,” Drummer said.
The campus also has the right feel, Drummer said.
“The faculty and staff deeply care about the students and their success and that’s what community colleges are about,” Drummer said. “Columbia-Greene showcases that beautifully.”
Drummer hopes to continue to expand on Campion’s work at the college.
“The college has really been meeting the community’s workforce needs with its nursing, automotive and technology programs,” Drummer said. “I want to make sure students have the experience they need to transfer to a four-year university or go right into the workforce.”
A more long-term goal for Drummer is to get hands-on experience at the college.
“I look forward to the opportunity to teach a class at the college,” Drummer said. “It’s important to have a connection with students in the classroom.”
Drummer has taught English, multi-cultural studies, women’s studies and integrated marketing communications courses in the past.
In terms of being the first woman president, Drummer hopes she can be an example to the students, she said.
“Whatever one’s gender, leading a college is an honor,” Drummer said. “What I would bring to the college as a woman, I hope would influence women students and be a role model for them to show them the sky is the limit.” Columbia-Greene Community College Board of Trustees Chairman Edward Schneier voiced his approval for Drummer.
“We are very lucky to have her,” Schneier said. “Throughout the selection process Dr. Drummer stood out. She is as happy to be coming here as we are to have her.”
Quinebaug is similar to Columbia-Greene and is located in a rural setting.
“She and her husband love this area,” Schneier said.
Drummer’s experience in marketing and communications will be an asset to the college, Schneier said.
“She will help expand the college’s relationships with rural communities and help get more grants and tap into outside funding, which we are increasingly going to need with state cut backs.”
Vice Chair Peter O’Hara agreed that Drummer was an excellent choice.
“The search committee is very pleased the Board of Regents has approved her,” he said. “The trustees are looking forward to working with her as we move into a new era at the college. We look forward to the new initiatives and new insights she will be to her presidency.”
Greene County Treasurer Peter Markou served on the search committee which was tasked with narrowing a pool of over 40 applicants down to eight for interviews and then down to a final four to send to the SUNY board.
Markou said he thinks Drummer will bring a unique perspective to the college because she did not spend her entire career in academia.
Drummer has previously worked at a consulting firm and in the communications and public relations fields.
There was a large turnout in the college cafeteria for the live-stream of the announcement, Markou said, a sign that the campus is happy with the selection.
“I know I am pleased because I thought she was way and above the most qualified candidate that we should be looking for,” Markou said. “I look forward to seeing her leave her stamp on the college.”
Drummer will be formally appointed July 8, although she will begin getting a feel for the community July 1.
“This will be the capstone of my career and I’m really eager to join you all,” she said.