New Kaskaskia College President Dr. Penny Quinn was the subject of a meet and greet reception in the Lifelong Learning Center on campus Thursday, August 27, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
A large number of community leaders and well-wishers were on hand to meet and welcome Dr. Quinn, who took over the Kaskaskia College presidency from Dr. Jim Underwood upon his retirement on June 30. KC Marketing Director Travis Henson acted as emcee for the event.
Dr. Penny Quinn comes to Kaskaskia College from Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kansas, where she served as Vice-President. She brings to KC 25 years of experience in public education and 23 years’ experience in the community college system. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, a Master’s degree from Washington State University, and a Doctorate from Indiana State University.
Dr. Quinn has served as instructor, department chair, director of student retention, honors program director, federal grant coordinator, and vice-president of Instruction and Student Services. She brings a great deal of leadership qualities and experience to her position as President of KC.
Speaking of what she has learned about Kaskaskia College so far, Dr. Quinn said “In my experience, lots of schools say they are a family, but KC really is. Whenever there is a need, everyone pitches in without having to be asked.”
On her personal philosophy, Dr. Quinn said that “I am not a dictator; I am a listener. The staff has a lot of great ideas, and we are working to see what can be accomplished moving forward.”
Some of Dr. Quinn’s goals include increasing financial reserves, looking at bolstering the infrastructure of the physical campus, and finding opportunities to increase enrollment and bolster retention. She also wants to increase the connection between staff and faculty by having more social interactions.
Another focus is economic development of the region. One of KC’s missions is to determine the needs of area employers and communities and to implement training programs for students and employees to meet those needs.
Aside from her professional background and goals, Dr. Quinn shared some personal details. She originally hails from rural Indiana, and is a first generation college graduate, with her father and mother attending school only until the eighth and ninth grades, respectively. “Providing access to students who would otherwise not have opportunities is why I am so committed to the community college vision,” she said. She enjoys reading and crafts, although she currently doesn’t have much time for either, she said. Her goal for this weekend is to prepare two tables for refinishing.
Some of Dr. Quinn’s family and friends attended the event, including her youngest daughter Brianna, son in law Jared, and young granddaughter Avery. Her best friend since 1982, Paula Daum, also made the trip from Indiana.
“When I met Penny, we were college roommates our freshman year,” Daum said. “She is a quality person who I knew I wanted to keep in my life. She is bright, capable, and articulate. Congratulations to Kaskaskia College for hiring the best.”