NWACC president announces 2022 retirement

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 805 views 

Photo courtesy Brandon Rush.

Dr. Evelyn E. Jorgenson, president of NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, will step down from her position at the end of her contract, June 30, 2022. Jorgenson has served in the leadership role since July 1, 2013.

The college announced Jorgenson’s retirement in a news release Friday (Feb. 5).

“Although I continue to have great passion and energy for the students of NorthWest Arkansas Community College and the enormously faithful and talented faculty and staff, including cabinet members, I’ve decided that it is time for me to recognize that life is short and it is time for others to carry the mission of the college forward,” Jorgenson said in a statement.

According to the release, under Jorgenson’s leadership, NWACC has grown to become the largest community college in Arkansas. The college had 7,583 students enrolled for the fall semester.

Known as “Dr. J” around campus, Jorgenson oversaw the creation of NWACC’s culinary school, Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, the Integrated Design Lab, a state-of-the-art facility that combines design, art and construction, and the new NWACC Washington County facility in Springdale. The college also made investments in completing the Center for Health Professions building, upgrading IT infrastructure and acquiring property for a new plant operations building.

According to the release, Jorgenson responsibly managed the college’s finances, operating with a balanced budget and no deficit spending. She oversaw millions of dollars in cost-savings with changes to NWACC’s health insurance plans and right-sizing the administration, including eliminating the role of Provost, with substantial salary and benefit savings every year.

Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson

Relocating Adult Education programs to the main NWACC campus eliminated the unnecessary cost of leasing and demonstrated a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. According to the release, she was also successful in locating the first Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center (APAC) outside of Little Rock onto the NWACC Bentonville campus, offering a convenient location to assist small businesses in Northwest Arkansas.

NWACC completed its 10-year reaccreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. Its nursing program continues to rank number one among all Arkansas community colleges. The college developed affordable study abroad opportunities for students and expanded its career and technical training programs to serve community growth and economic development better.

“The NWA community has been blessed to have the leadership of Dr. Jorgenson for the last nine years,” NWACC Board Chairman Ron Branscum said in a statement. “Dr. J has exemplified true leadership and she will leave behind big shoes to be filled for the presidency at NWACC.”

Friday’s announcement did not include a timeframe or details related to finding Jorgenson’s successor.

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