Goodbye Dr. Patterson

© 2017-The Torrington Telegram

TORRINGTON – Eastern Wyoming College President Dr. Richard Patterson, took the opportunity during his last EWC Board of Trustees meeting before retiring, to share a few thoughts and comments about his tenure.
“It is well known that during my tenure, EWC experienced some memorable trials and tribulations,” Patterson started out his comments to the board. “However, in spite of this, we were able to move forward in a number of important ways and it is proper that those should
be noted.”
He went on to outline how, during his first few months as interim president, the college completed its Higher Learning Commission focus visit, passed two bond issues to fund the Career and Technology Education Center and through reorganization of the veterinary technology department and adoption of strict animal care policy full accreditation was restored to the program.
Also, he pointed out that the Douglas campus was completed in 2015, as were expansions to Lancer Hall and that currently underway is the “largest capital construction project in EWC history, CTEC.”
As for programs at EWC, he proudly pointed out that, “The first new nursing program in Wyoming in decades was started last year in Douglas and has successfully concluded its first year. Full program approval has been awarded by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing and we have received candidate status for national accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education
in Nursing.”
And went on to add, “Our cosmetology program has received certification as a barber school and will begin offering that option in the new facility this fall.”  
Though the college has seen important progress and advancements in the last few years, Patterson said there are many challenges ahead.
“Chronic underfunding is at the root of nearly all of our challenges. This is evidenced by inadequate program funding for equipment and supplies, deferred maintenance and replacements, as well as staff and faculty salaries that are often
below market.  
“This has been exacerbated by recent economic events and left our employees on a salary freeze for three years.  EWC needs to continue to identify both inefficiencies and to explore opportunities for increasing revenue, outside of state funding.”
Despite these shortfalls, Patterson told the board the outlook for the college was bright because of the quality of the faculty and staff and the excellent reputation the college holds among its alumni, other community colleges and residents of its
service area.
Closing his remarks on a personal note, Patterson told the board he was “grateful for the many years I have been associated with EWC. Starting as a student, and later an intern, college counselor, adjunct faculty, full-time faculty member, division chair, and finally college president.  
“I appreciate your confidence in me to lead us through some very difficult times and trust that it was not misplaced. It has been an honor for me to serve you and the college.”
On hand at the meeting was Erin Taylor, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees, who presented Patterson with a plaque of appreciation from the association in recognition of his hard work at the college, taking over the reins at a time it was experiencing, not only physical growth, but some program setbacks.
There will be a farewell reception for Patterson at the college on Thursday, June 29.
In other business:
• The board granted emeritus status to Andy Espinoza and Dr. Peggy Knittel, both of whom are retiring.
• Victoria Mayfield was hired as a new math instructor.
• The contract with Dr. Lesley Travers as college president was approved from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.
• Keith Jarvis, the colleges director of physical plant, informed the trustees the new Career and Technology Career Center was 88 percent complete and on schedule for completion at the end of July. He also said the fine arts center lobby renovation has begun and is on schedule.
• John Hansen, institutional development director, reminded everyone attending the meeting the EWC Foundation golf tournament is this Saturday, June 17.
• The next scheduled meeting of the EWC Board of Trustees in Tuesday, July 11, beginning at 5:45 p.m. in the Dolores Kaufman Boardroom.

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