The board of trustees for Bellevue College announced veteran college administrator Jerry Weber as the new president Tuesday night.

Share story

An experienced college administrator from Illinois has been chosen as the new president of Bellevue College.

Jerry Weber, president of College of Lake County in Northern Illinois for the past six years, will take over this summer pending the finalization of a contract, said Merisa Heu-Weller, Bellevue College trustee and co-chair of the presidential search committee.

She said Weber’s experience and passion align with Bellevue College’s goals, including a commitment to diversity and inclusion, a push for a sustainable campus and green-jobs training, and innovative approaches to delivering education.

“He has a tremendous passion for the college’s mission to change people’s lives,” Heu-Weller said.

Weber holds a doctorate in higher-education administration and has served as an adjunct faculty at Harvard University in the continuing-education program of Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership. Before leading the College of Lake County, Weber was president of Kankakee Community College for nine years. He was recently elected to the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges.

The Bellevue presidential-search committee forwarded three finalists’ names to the board of trustees in late February. The three — Dr. Karén Lynn Clos, chief advancement officer at Texas A&M University-Central Texas; Angelia Millender, president of Olive-Harvey College, Chicago; and Weber — each visited campus in early March, meeting with students, faculty, community members and staff.

The college, in a profile of what it hoped for in a new president, said it was seeking a dynamic leader capable of forging a new model of higher education, more pathways to a four-year degree and better outcomes for more students.

“This will require creativity, urgency, and courage,” the profile said.

Former Seattle Community College Chancellor Jill Wakefield has been serving as interim president at Bellevue College after the resignation of David Rule, who was president from 2013 through August 2016. Rule’s salary was $225,000 a year.

Bellevue College is the third-largest institution of higher education and largest community college in the state, with more than 30,000 students annually. It offers an array of programs, including 12 bachelor’s degrees, eight associate-degree transfer programs, 15 professional/technical associate degrees and 95 certificate programs.