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Chancellor Announces Retirement from DCCCD


Jan. 27, 2003

(DALLAS) — During the regular monthly meeting of the Dallas County Community College District board of trustees last night, DCCCD Chancellor William Wenrich submitted a letter announcing his plan to retire from the district, effective Aug. 31, 2003. Wenrich's letter of retirement — which states that he will be "available to consult" for DCCCD after that time - reflects the terms of his current contract, which was approved in January by the trustees.

"I have been privileged to lead what I think is the best community college district in the country," said Wenrich. "It has been a pleasure to work with so many wonderful agencies and institutions in the Dallas area. Of course, I will continue to enjoy that work until my retirement from DCCCD in August 2003."

The chancellor described his decision to retire as a transition in his personal and professional life. "I have not made any decisions concerning where I will go or what I will do. After nearly 12 years of wonderful experiences with the Dallas County Community College District, I believe it is now time for a transition for me."

Details concerning the search for a new chancellor will be announced at a later date. Members of the DCCCD board of trustees will meet in two weeks to discuss how to proceed with the search, and they will decide on the methodology for the process. Wenrich was selected following a national search in 1990, chaired by Dr. Bill J. Priest, the district's first chancellor.

"I will be delighted to work with board members as much as they wish in the search for a new chancellor and will work to the utmost of my ability to ensure an effective transition of leadership," said Wenrich, who thanked trustees for the support they have provided to him during his administration.

Wenrich stated that several critical tasks remain which he plans to finish before his retirement: to complete funding for the Rising Star program's endowment; to achieve full re-accreditation for all of DCCCD's seven colleges by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; to fill key executive positions, including the presidency of Cedar Valley College; to complete a viable new long-range facilities plan; and to secure the best funding possible during the next legislative session.

Wenrich noted several key achievements accomplished in the district during his tenure as chancellor:

  • student/employer guarantees (which provide additional classroom training if a student who graduates from DCCCD does not meet the needs of an employer);
  • the Rising Star program which provides financial support for Dallas County public high school seniors who grade with a "B" average or better;
  • the visiting scholars program, which has increased the faculty's diversity;
    significant enrollment gains; and
  • the establishment of a quality executive team which was developed during the last decade.

As chancellor, Wenrich oversees the largest undergraduate institution in Texas. The district includes seven colleges — Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland — plus the Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development, the LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications (including the Dallas TeleCollege), central administrative offices and a district service center. DCCCD enrolled 55,000 credit students during fall 2001, and more than 25,000 members of the community attend continuing education courses each semester. More than 4,000 part-time and 2,000 full-time faculty and staff work for DCCCD, and Wenrich is responsible for an annual budget of more than $300 million.

He previously served as chancellor of San Diego Community College District from 1988-1990; as president of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from 1984-1988; as president of Santa Ana College and superintendent of Rancho Santiago Community College District in Santa Ana, Calif., from 1979-1984; and in a variety of administrative capacities at other institutions, beginning in 1969. Prior to that time, Wenrich served as a representative to the Dominican Republic for the International Development Foundation in New York from 1965-1966 and as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State in both Washington, D.C., and La Paz, Bolivia, from 1962-1965.

Wenrich, who is fluent in Spanish, holds a bachelor's degree in international and public affairs from Princeton University, a master's degree in university administration from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in community adult education from UM.

He has been involved in the Dallas community for more than a decade and was the recipient of the Dallas Historical Society Award for Excellence in Community Service (representing education) in 1999 and the Marie Y. Martin Outstanding CEO Award from the Association of Community College Trustees several years ago. The chancellor remains an active member of the Dallas Citizens Council, as a board member for United Way of Dallas and as a member of the City Club.

At the state and national levels, Wenrich has served as past president of the Texas Association of Community Colleges; as past board chair of the League for Innovation in the Community College; as past chair of the Alliance for Higher Education's Council of Presidents; and as past board member for the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities. He previously served as a board member for both the North Texas Commission and Worksource for Dallas. He currently is a board member for the Continuous Quality Improvement Network and is on the board/executive committee for the American Council on Education, based in Washington, D.C.

Wenrich has served as a consultant in the fields of adult and vocational education, plus community development. He is the author of two books and a number of journal articles on those subjects. The chancellor is married, has two children and three grandchildren.

For more information, contact the DCCCD office of marketing and communication at 214.860.2478.