An alliance involving town and gown, commerce and college, was the focal point Tuesday at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Western Nevada College’s library.
“A community college is meant to serve the community,” said Carol Lucey, outgoing president of WNC. Her remarks were followed by those of Robert Whitcomb, business instructor, who urged chamber members present to take advantage of WNC’s desire to have college students involved and working with local businesses in ways that strengthen both the students and participating firms.
“If you need help, call us; we don’t charge for it,” he said. He also said not only are students willing and able to help, their contributions and learning opportunities are part of the funnel to the future that helps the economy in small and large ways over time.
“Education drives the economy,” said the educator who joined the WNC faculty a year ago.
Lucey, in her brief remarks, took to task the higher education budget cuts to the institution she has headed since 1999. Calling the spending guide a bad budget, she held out little hope there would be significant change soon.
“I don’t want you to think that it’s going to get any better,” she said. She also said that with her exit, a national search for a new president should occur and the community should make sure it has representation on the search committee. At the same time, she told the business people on hand she wasn’t about to disappear.
“I’ll still be out there fighting,” she pledged.
After the breakfast meeting broke up, she was asked by a reporter if she might take her case not only to other forums but also to the Legislature by standing for election. Without committing to run for the Assembly or state Senate, she acknowledged such a bid has been suggested to her. In addition, she volunteered her view that participation in public debate and policy decisions is important.