BREVARD COUNTY, FL. – Brevard Community College has a new leader with a familiar face:
Dr. Jim Richey. The BCC Board of Trustees selected Richey as the sixth permanent President in the college’s history Monday, Jan. 23, after a national search to replace Dr. Jim Drake who retired as chief executive in October 2011.
Trustees appointed Richey as Interim President after Drake stepped down, and he topped the list of 31 candidates who applied for the job. He had been serving as the college’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel prior to his interim role.
The board voted 4-1 to name Richey. Trustees Alan Landman, Steve Charpentier, Dewey Harris and Moses Harvin voted yes. Trustee Myra Haley voted no.
Landman, the board’s chair, said Richey has played a key role in the college’s success, and praised his performance and strong ties to the local community as among the reasons why he earned the job.
“If you’re team is doing well, you don’t change the coach and you don’t change the general manager,” said Landman. “There is no reason to change the direction of this administration.”
Other trustees called Richey the perfect fit to lead the college and help the Brevard economy recover from the recession and end of the space shuttle program.
“I like to go with a known quantity,” said Charpentier.
Richey said he was “deeply honored and humbled” by the selection and thanked the trustees “for their careful consideration in making this very important decision.” “Please know that the success of our students is, and always will be, paramount under my leadership,” he said.
“I look forward to working with our trustees, our outstanding faculty and staff in concert with our generous donors and community to move the college forward. “If we are successful, as I know we will be, BCC will become a nationally recognized leader of excellence in higher education and our graduates will lead the way as the Space Coast gets back to work!”
Richey detailed his vision for BCC during his interview with trustees, citing these key goals:
- Improving the academic performance of students through tutors and tutoring centers, better and earlier student advising, creating a Chief Learning Officer and Chief Academic Officer, and crafting a new 3-year agreement with the United Faculty of Florida.
- Making certain students are ready for the job market by adding possible new degrees and programs, creating a strong internship program, launching a college-wide career center and offering lectures for success as an employee in a small business.
- Enhancing the campus experience for students with the creation of more clubs and organizations, meeting regularly with students and implementing their ideas where possible, and launching a new Web site with social media tools.
- Strengthening the college’s financial position by starting a comprehensive enrollment plan, creating profitable alumni and booster clubs, seeking more grant funding, seeking business partnerships in the community and keeping operating costs lean.
Richey is well known to BCC faculty, staff and students. His association with the college began when he was appointed to BCC’s Board of Trustees by Gov. Charlie Crist in July 2007. He left the board to accept the position of Internal Counsel for BCC on April 2008.
He was named Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel in October 2008 before assuming the post of Executive Vice President and General Counsel in July 2010. In that role he managed all college departments, including academics, business and financial affairs, fundraising, operations, human resources, information technologies and intercollegiate athletics.
Richey has been instrumental in successfully managing the college’s budget and strengthening financial reserves despite several years of deep funding cuts caused by the recession.
For example, the college received 68 percent of its operating budget from the Florida Legislature in 2006 but now gains only 51 percent of its money from legislative appropriations. Nonetheless, BCC remains on solid financial footing. It serves almost 30,000 students annually, employs a record 253 full-time professors and has nearly $100 million in operating and capital budgets.
Richey’s contributions have helped place BCC among the top community colleges in the nation. It’s the 94th largest of 1,700 community colleges in the U.S, ranking 29th in the number of two-year associate of arts degrees awarded to all students, and 91st in two-year degrees awarded to minority students.
BCC also ranks 2nd among Florida community colleges in graduation rates at 47.6 percent. Richey also led more than $20 million in projects to renovate, improve and enhance college facilities, revamped the focus of the BCC Foundation to substantially increase donations, and recruited a new athletic director who has turned BCC’s women’s soccer into a nationally ranked program in just two years.
Beyond his executive duties, Richey spends time in the classroom as an adjunct professor. He taught a 2011 course on wills and trusts and is credentialed to teach an additional 19 courses in the fields of law and criminal justice.
Prior to coming to BCC, Richey owned his own law practice in Melbourne, Fla., from 1994 to 2008. His work included advising businesses on contract negotiations, employment policies, employee benefits, corporate governance and charitable giving programs. In 1995, he successfully argued a case before the Florida Supreme Court.
Richey earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University in 1985 and a juris doctorate degree from Ohio State University in 1988.
He is also admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, is a member of the United States Tax Court, Florida Bar Association and Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fifth District Court of Appeal, and former chair of the Grievance Committee of the 18th Circuit Judicial Court.
He is also master of the Vassar B. Carlton American-Inn of Court and former trustee of the Holy Name of Jesus Church Educational Endowment Fund.
Richey and his wife, Suzanne, are the parents of three children – Bradley, Allison and Bethany. He lives in Melbourne Beach, Fla.