Sierra Nevada College president resigns
August 13, 2006
Just one week before classes start at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, college president Dr. Paul Ranslow and Mary Peterson, vice president of Academic Affairs, have announced their resignations.
“With the recent developments at Sierra Nevada College, my role as president has changed from that for which I was hired and for which I was prepared to dedicate all my energy and talent,” Ranslow said in a press release on Friday.
Ranslow’s tenure with the college began in June of 2005.
Because of a lack of endowment money, the Incline Village college is no longer able to stand alone as a private college and is looking to partner with another institution, said John Altman, chairman of the SNC Board of Trustees.
“There was a realization by the board of trustees that it’s difficult today in America to have a small liberal arts college survive,” Altman said. “We’re leveraging the future by looking for a strategic partnership.”
Enrollment numbers and an endowment need to be in place to fund operations of the college, and enrollment is down this year, Peterson said.
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“Enrollment is lower than we hoped for and anticipated,” she said.
Peterson, a 25-year Incline Village resident, has held her post with the college for the past five years.
“The college is pursuing a partnership (with another institution), and while it’s promising for the college, there’s always new leadership when anyone new comes in,” Peterson said. “It’s in everybody’s best interest for the current leadership to step down and allow that to happen.”
Board of trustees members said they are “deeply saddened” by Ranslow’s departure, but are looking forward to the future.
“Ultimately, this is going to be the center for environmental science, sustainability, entrepreneurship and the arts … but we can’t do this by ourselves,” Altman said. “Paul’s vision was for this to be a stand-alone college, but to do that today you need between $75 million and $100 million worth of endowment.”
Altman said the college’s endowment stands at $4 million.
Dr. Larry Large was appointed to interim president and CEO of the college by SNC’s Board of Trustees on Friday.
He declined to comment until after the board meets.
Retiring as president of Oglethorpe University last summer after seven years at the Georgia college, he has more than 30 years experience in higher education and has served in various senior executive positions at Willamette University, University of Oregon, the Oregon university system and Reed College in Portland, Ore. Large has been an executive consultant to Sierra Nevada College since December 2005.
As the college gears up for classes to start, Altman said it’s “business as usual” at the school.
“We can’t wait until the new students get here, although we’re saddened we don’t have more,” he said.