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VC Board of Trustees names Kent as sole finalist in presidential search

Photo - Kent, Jennifer Dr. Jennifer Kent

Victoria College’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted Tuesday at a special meeting to name Dr. Jennifer Kent as the sole finalist in the search for the next president of Victoria College.

Kent, who currently serves as senior vice president of Ranger College, was one of four finalists who came to Victoria last week to participate in open public forums. The other finalists were Dr. James Dire, chancellor of Methodist College in Peoria, Ill.; Dr. Mickey D. Best, campus president of New Mexico State University-Grants in Grants, N.M.; and Dr. Robert Exley, president of Snead State Community College in Boaz, Ala.

“I am honored to be named the sole finalist as president of Victoria College, and I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for this incredible opportunity,” said Kent, who was named a member of the 2020-21 Aspen Institute Rising Presidents Fellowship. “It is truly humbling to be joining an institution known for outstanding academic excellence, and I am excited to become a member of the Pirate family.”

VC Board of Trustees Chairman Bland Proctor said the board is pleased with the outcome of the presidential search process.

“The search process brought forth many highly qualified candidates, and we thank them all. In the end, we saw that Victoria College’s needs were in alignment with the qualities exhibited by Dr. Kent’s application materials and interviews,” said Proctor. “We were extremely impressed by her unique educational background and knowledge of the current challenges and opportunities facing Victoria College. Her high energy and skillset relating to student success, professional development and collaborative leadership will build upon the successes of Dr. Hinds and take Victoria College into its second century.”

Dr. David Hinds, VC president since 2015, announced in September his plans to retire in August.

Following his announcement, a search committee was formed and several forums were held to gain input from VC employees and students as well as community members. Ideas gathered at the forums were used to create a presidential profile, which identifies Victoria College’s future priorities and the ideal characteristics of the future president. The search committee interviewed semifinalists in April and recommended the four finalists to VC’s Board of Trustees.

Kent’s appointment as president is dependent on a successful negotiation of a contract and the board’s final approval of the contract after a 21-day waiting period required by state law. The board is expected to approve the final contract at its July meeting.

Kent would become Victoria College’s sixth president since it was established in 1925, and the first female to hold the position.

Kent has served in education for 23 years. She earned a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a Master of Education in educational administration from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tarleton State University. Kent, a first-generation college student in her family, previously served as principal of Early High School before accepting her current position at Ranger College in 2017. She is familiar with the Crossroads area, as she started her career in education as a teacher and coach at Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca.

“As Victoria College approaches its 100th year of serving our region, we are confident that the extensive and thorough search process – involving input and deliberation from a wide range of constituents and stakeholders – allowed us to select the person who we believe is best suited to serve as the sixth president of Victoria College,” Proctor said.