Dr. Frances White prepares to leave Skyline

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Skyline College received sad news on March 24. The college’s president, Dr. Frances White, will be leaving the school for a new job after the spring semester is through.White received the job offer from the College of Marin, explaining that it was, “an offer I couldn’t refuse.””It’s an opportunity for a promotion and for more responsibility,” White said. “I am the chancellor [at the College of Marin]. I think I made the right decision, even though it may be bittersweet.”The College of Marin began a nationwide search a few months back and accepted 49 applicants for its opening for chancellor/president. A selection committee screened the original applicants down to 10 and from there, down to four. White had to go through rigorous interviews-she spent a full day at the College of Marin while the selection committee came to Skyline and interviewed around 30 people to figure out if White was right for the job.On March 23, White received a phone call from the College of Marin with an offer in hand and asked if what they were proposing was acceptable for her. She said yes and the next day informed the rest of her colleagues at Skyline that she would be leaving at the end of the spring term.”I’m staying till the end of the semester,” White said. “They asked me to come sooner but I can’t just walk away.”When she leaves in May, White will be ending a five year career at Skyline that saw the birth of the President’s Innovation Fund, a plan for a new face lift for the school that will lead to a new entrance way to the school, a new building 7, which will have totally new science labs for the students and faculty, and a community college that has a very high transfer rate.”What I am most proud of is the culture and cooperation we have at Skyline College,” White said. “People try and look out for each other here.””I’m leaving this institution much better than I found it,” White said. “I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved.””She’s an outstanding person and we’ll miss her,” said Phil Garlington, the first president of Skyline College. “Even though community colleges have been taking a beating [because of budget cuts] she treats Skyline like a private college. She raises money to keep us going. She has all kinds of ideas. She’s innovative.”One of White’s most creative ideas was the President’s Innovation Fund which she said lets faculty and administration “dream out loud.” The fund is intended to bolster the college’s educational and occupational programs by adding new courses that reflect business and industry needs. The thought is that programs will encourage creativity among faculty and staff so that the college continues to stay adaptable to the changes in business.”I enjoy making a difference,” White said. “I enjoy pulling people together, taking it to the next level.”Even with all she’s done, White does have one regret, which is she will not be at Skyline for the completion of renovations that will be done at the college. The “dream” is to have a completely new science building, a new scenic entranceway for the college and a new food court just to name a few of the upcoming changes. The ground breaking for all of this will happen in September or October 2004.”My feelings will be really hurt if I’m not invited back,” White said.With all that said and done, White feels like she made as much of a difference as she could have.”In my own head and heart, I achieved what I set out to achieve. I really believe that.”