Cummiskey wants to help LBW meet Alabama’s ‘challenges’

Published 11:10 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories on the five semifinalists for the presidency of LBWCC.

Southeastern Illinois College president Raymond Cummiskey said that Alabama’s potential for growth is one of the major reasons he chose to pursue the open presidential position at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. Now, Cummiskey is one of five semifinalists who will be interviewed for that job next week.

“It’s an interesting situation,” Cummiskey said. “Alabama has got a lot of opportunities, I think. The state has grown and is based for continued growth, which will provide job growth. Plus, if you look at the demographics, a lot of people are moving down south and there’s going to be challenges to provide the level of service that is needed for those people.”

Cummiskey has been president at SIC, a public two-year college in Harrisburg, Ill., since 2004. Prior to that position, he was the executive vice president for academic and student affairs at Jefferson Community College in Steubenville, Ohio, from 1998-2004. He has also had other administrative roles and spent some time as a professor.

Cummiskey earned his bachelor’s degree from Park College in Kansas City in 1980 before moving onto the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He earned his master’s degree in communication studies in 1981 and a doctorate in education administration in 1993.

He said his experience working in Missouri’s community college system has prepared him to face the challenges he would face as president at LBWCC.

“I come from experience in institutions of similar size,” Cummiskey said. “I’ve handled a lot of different situations as a president and VP. I work very hard, however, to not only get involved in the communities where I live, but also to have them support and grow.

“I just think it would be a good fit.”

Cummiskey said SIC is remarkably similar to LBWCC in terms of makeup and demographics. SIC has around 3,200 students, with several programs in other communities including a campus in Carmi, Ill. Harrisburg has a population of a little more than 10,000 residents.

Cummiskey added that if he is selected to be the next president at LBWCC, he will respect the institution’s tradition while also taking a look toward the future.

“I think if you want to talk about my vision, you’d have to start by looking at embracing the history and tradition of the institution,” he said. “You look at that and say, ‘our history has been one of service to the community.’ I think next you have to ask, well what can we do to build on that?

“It’s going to be difficult to identify priorities because money is tight. But a vision is to know that you can continue to move the institution forward. The number one item is to provide service to the students, because without them there would be no college.”