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Finalists Named For Waycross College Presidency

Atlanta — July 17, 2006

Dr. Robert Gingras thumbnail
Dr. Robert Gingras
Dr. David A. Palmer thumbnail
Dr. David A. Palmer
Dr. Deborah C. Fontaine thumbnail
Dr. Deborah C. Fontaine

Regent Mansfield Jennings, chair of the Special Regents’ Committee for the presidential search at Waycross College, and University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. today announced the names of the three finalists for the Waycross College presidency.

Regent Jennings said, “We are recommending to the full Board of Regents a very strong group of finalists. They are well qualified to take on the leadership of Waycross College.”

“Each of these finalists has a number of years of senior-level leadership experience, and comes to us highly recommended,” Chancellor Davis stated. “I have every confidence that the search committees have narrowed the field of candidates to the cream of the crop.”

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

Dr. Deborah C. Fontaine, chief of staff of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), in St. Thomas. Fontaine has served in her current position since February. From June 2005 through early 2006, she served as executive administrator of the university’s St. Croix campus. Previously, from 2002 to 2005, she served as special assistant to the president for strategic planning and assessment. As special assistant, she led the implementation of UVI’s five-year strategic plan, achieving 90 percent completion of the plan’s objectives.

Before Fontaine’s arrival in the U.S. Virgins Islands, she held a number of positions at Elizabeth City State University, in North Carolina, including vice chancellor for student affairs (1996 to 2002), coordinator for strategic planning (1996), assistant director for sponsored programs, contracts, grants (1995-1996), and an assistant professor of management (1992-1994). From 1996 to 2002, she also taught masters-level courses offered in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland by Central Michigan University in conjunction with its Extended Learning graduate degree program in business administration.

Fontaine pursued a corporate career before focusing on higher education. She served as director of regulatory affairs and accounting for Verizon Communications, in Philadelphia, Pa., from 1972 to 1985, and vice president and co-owner of Centurion Management Services, in Hampton, Va., from 1986 to 1988.

Fontaine earned her Ph.D. in administration/management in 1993 from Walden University, in Minneapolis. She also holds an M.B.A. summa cum laude (1987) and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration cum laude (1972) from Hampton University, in Hampton, Va.

Dr. Robert Gingras, vice president of academic affairs at Bainbridge College, in Bainbridge, Ga. Gingras has held his current position since 2002. He rose through the faculty ranks at Bainbridge, having been hired in 1978 as director of continuing education and appointed as an English instructor in 1979.

Gingras was named interim vice president of academic affairs in 2001. Between Fall 2001 and Fall 2004, Bainbridge College’s headcount enrollment increased by 60 percent and Gingras played a key role in managing this growth. He has recruited 35 new faculty members and has initiated six new certificate programs, 17 mini-certificates and a number of associate-degree programs at the college since 2001.

Gingras previously was affiliated with Florida State University (FSU), in Tallahassee, where he served as a teaching assistant from 1976 to 1978 and as the editor of FSU’s Intermediate Science Curriculum Study from 1974 to 1976.

Gingras received his Ph.D. in 1980 and a Master of Arts degree in 1975, both in English, from FSU. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, in Coral Gables, Fla., in 1972.

Dr. David A. Palmer, president of Andrew College, in Cuthbert, Ga. Palmer, who has led this private, two-year institution since 2002, also serves as the college’s primary fund raiser and facilitated $1.8 million -in gifts to the 2004-2005 annual fund. He currently is president of the Georgia Association of Colleges, an independent organization dedicated to maintaining and improving educational standards in Georgia’s public and private colleges and universities.

Palmer spent 21 years as vice president for student life and dean of students at Hanover College, in Hanover, Ind., where he also taught courses in organizational behavior in the college’s Department of Economics and Business Administration for 12 years. Before that, he served as vice president and dean of students at Transylvania University, in Lexington, Ky., where he revised and rebuilt the student life program during the period of 1976 to 1981.

Palmer also was affiliated with Michigan State University, in East Lansing, from 1970 to 1976, supervising a 1,200-student residence hall for the first two years, and eight residence halls serving 5,100 students for the remaining four years. From 1968 to 1970, he served as the dean of men at Buena Vista College, in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Palmer earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration in 1976 from Michigan State. He also received an M.B.A. in organizational behavior/management in 1986 from Xavier University, in Cincinnati, Ohio; an M.A. in college student personnel in 1967 from Ohio State University, in Columbus; and a bachelor’s degree in sociology/English in 1965 from Hanover College.

The Board of Regents expects to name the next president of Waycross College in a specially called meeting sometime in the next few weeks.

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