Trustees Approve Contract for Next Parkland President
Dr. Pamela Lau to replace Dr. Tom Ramage at year's end under four-year contract
Parkland College trustees have approved Dr. Pamela Lau's contract, confirming her as the sixth president of the college.
Lau, who currently serves as executive vice president at Parkland, will succeed fifth president Dr. Thomas Ramage following his retirement at the end of the year. Lau's four-year contract is set to begin in January and will extend through December 2026. Ramage will retire after 15 years at the helm.
"Dr. Lau has demonstrated a deep commitment to Parkland College's mission during her tenure and is a respected, sought-after leader among her community college peers," said Board Chair James Voyles. "We are pleased to take this important next step in the college's succession plan and are looking forward to the continued success of the college under Dr. Lau's thoughtful leadership starting in January."
In 2019, trustees named Lau as president designee as part of a multi-year transition process following Ramage's announcement that he would retire in December 2022. Following approval of the contract, Lau signed her contract during Wednesday's board meeting and gave brief remarks.
"It is a distinct honor and privilege to be chosen to lead an institution with such a strong reputation for excellence and an unwavering commitment to our students and community," said Lau. "Dr. Ramage has been an invaluable mentor throughout the transition process, and I thank the Trustees for their faith in my leadership. Together, we will move Parkland into the future."
Lau joined the Parkland College faculty in 1995 as a teacher in its developmental reading program; she became director of the program in 2003. In 2005, she led the task force that coordinated the school's academic support services into the one-stop Center for Academic Success (CAS), serving as CAS's founding director. After her promotion to dean of academic services in 2010, Dr. Lau was instrumental in obtaining the second Title III grant in Parkland’s history. In 2015, she became interim vice president for academic services at Parkland College and accepted the permanent position the following year.
Also at their regular meeting, Parkland trustees heard a report from United Way President and CEO Sue Grey and Agricultural Technology Department Chair Gordon Hedrick. Parkland's AgTech Department will be partnering with United Way on its Farmer's Feeding Families Program by planting and harvesting farm ground, with the proceeds fighting hunger within the community. In turn, Parkland College faculty will use the farm ground as a learning lab and an opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in the industry.
Dean of Enrollment Management Kristin Smigielski also gave a fall enrollment report, which shows a 5.41% increase in student headcount at the college for the fall semester; this is the first time in recent years the college has shown an increase compared to the prior year. Trustees also approved the FY22 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report presented by FORVIS (formerly BKD), the college's auditing firm.
In other business, trustees approved:
- exempt purchases:
- for food service refrigeration systems repair with Davis Houk Mechanical Contractors of Urbana, $38,980
- laptops from Dell Computer Corporation of Round Rock, Texas, $65,000
- internet connection services from AT&T and ICN, $100,000
- elevator maintenance services from Kone, Inc. for $32,355.36
- personnel appointments:
- Benjamin Boltinghouse, Compliance Manager, Human Resources/Student Services
- Kiah Johnson, Office Assistant, SWFT
- Katherine Buyze, Program Manager, Youth Programs, Community Education
- Renee Harlor, Program Manager for Customized Training, Community Education