Mar 17, 2022 - News

NWACC president search narrows to three candidates

photo of nwacc

Burns Hall at NWACC in Bentonville. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Three candidates remain in the running to be the next president of NorthWest Arkansas Community College and will visit campus later this month for tours, public forums and interviews with the Board of Trustees, the college announced in a news release.

Why it matters: The NWACC president leads an institution that plays a critical role in offering degrees, certificates and programs for students who go on to fill jobs in NWA.

Context: The new president will need to address a pandemic-related drop in enrollment as well as the board's desire to keep costs low for students as the school increases its offerings.

  • In the past few years, the community college has added several programs such as coding, opened a Washington County building that it's already considering expanding and launched its first intercollegiate sports program.

The candidates:

  • Wade Derden — vice president for academic affairs at National Park College in Hot Springs
  • Dennis Rittle — president of Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas
  • Ricky Tompkins — vice president for learning at NWACC

Flashback: President Evelyn Jorgeson announced in February 2021 that she planned to retire when her contract expires June 30, 2022. She has been the school's president for nine years.

What's next: The Board of Trustees will select a candidate in time for them to start July 1.


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