Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, who has been president for 21 years at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), announced Thursday that she will retire, effective June 30.

Cuyahoga Community College, currently marking a year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, was Ohio’s first community college and remains its largest.

Thornton became its third president on Jan. 2, 1992, after serving six years as president of Lakewood Community College (now known as Century College) in White Bear Lake, Minn.

Thornton was credited with guiding the unprecedented institutional growth and development during her 21 years there.

She began her community college career in 1971 as an English faculty member at Triton College in a Chicago suburb and remained there until she left in1985 from her position as the dean of Academic Affairs.

“With the continued support and confidence of the Board of Trustees, the College Foundation and the people of Cuyahoga County, it has been my distinct privilege to work with our outstanding faculty and staff to promote student success in collaboration with our community partners,” said Thornton.

“Together, we have steadily expanded affordable and accessible opportunities for student achievement and success and to meet the ever-evolving needs of our region’s employers.  I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish and believe this is the appropriate time for me to bring closure to my tenure and for the College to begin the transition to new leadership.  We have recently launched several major academic initiatives, implemented new student success strategies and completed many major capital projects.”

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