BENTONVILLE—An agreement reached Thursday (Dec. 6) provides NorthWest Arkansas Community College with its third president, starting July 1, 2013. The NWACC Board of Trustees approved a three-year contract with Evelyn Jorgenson to be the college’s next chief executive. Becky Paneitz, who has served as president since 2003, retires June 30, 2013.
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson to serve as our next president,” said Alex Vasquez, chairman of the NWACC Board of Trustees. “I am confident she will be a great fit for the college and for Northwest Arkansas and will be able to build upon the great foundation laid by Dr. Bob Burns and by Dr. Becky Paneitz.”
Under the contract, Dr. Jorgenson, currently president of Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College, will have an initial base salary at $176,826 per year. In addition to the stated salary, the contract also includes standard employee benefits and an annual housing allowance of $18,000, all in accordance with Arkansas state laws and regulations.
Jorgenson will also be provided with a vehicle through the NWACC Foundation. Nunnally Chevrolet is continuing its longstanding partnership with the college to provide the vehicle.
“The George Nunnally family has been such a strong supporter of the college, and we are so grateful for their continued generosity,” said Meredith N. Brunen, executive director for development.
The board chose Dr. Jorgenson from among four finalists who visited Northwest Arkansas in November for interviews with the trustees and forums with various college and community stakeholders. Trustees authorized pursuing a contract with Dr. Jorgenson at the board’s Nov. 12 meeting.
Jorgenson holds a doctorate in higher and adult education from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in higher and adult education from the same institution. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Columbia, Mo., and an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo. She is married to Charles Jorgenson and they have two grown children.
Jorgenson was on campus Thursday to start meeting with staff and becoming better acquainted with the college.
Thursday evening Jorgenson got an opportunity to meet the invited guests at the community college’s annual holiday reception held at the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers. Roughly 100 invited guests that included business and civic leaders and some state legislators had an opportunity to meet Jorgenson and her husband.
“I have to say my husband and I have been treated with such kindness and such generosity. I can’t believe the energy and great vitality here. We are really looking forward to being part of this community and this college,” Jorgenson told the crowd.
Paneitz also thanked past and present board members that she has served for the past decade in her presidency at the community college, at the reception.
“We have tremendous community support and I encourage you all to continue that as this college works to impact lives and the broader community in the future,” Paneitz said during the reception.
Guests were treated to a buffet of appetizers and sugary confections provided by culinary students at the college. The school’s jazz band also provided music for the event.
Paneitz told the crowd they were in for a treat when it came to the food, as the dishes and desserts were part of the final grade for the student's serving them.