After a monthslong search, Pierce College Puyallup announced its new president last week.
Darrell L. Cain, Ph.D., was selected to serve as the community college’s president. He’s expected to start by Aug. 1.
“I’m anxious to arrive and am looking forward to engage with the community and connect with the students and staff,” Cain said.
Cain, 48, currently works as the vice chancellor of community affairs at Ivy Technical Community College in Indianapolis, Indiana. Previously, he served as vice president for academic affairs at Eastfield College in Dallas and was dean for academic affairs at Atlanta Technical College.
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Born and raised in Indiana, Cain was a first-generation college student, getting his start at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. From there, he earned his bachelor of arts degree at Indiana University, Bloomington; his master’s degree in administration in higher education from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and his doctorate from Virginia Tech University, majoring in education leadership and policy studies and minoring in instructional technology.
While it’ll be his first time living in Washington state, Cain visited the Pierce College Puyallup campus as part of an open house when he was selected as one of four finalists for the position.
“I loved it,” Cain said. “They really take pride in (their school). That was something that really stood out to me.”
Cain said a good education foundation was integral to his future success, and wants to uphold that notion at Pierce College.
“That foundation was really critical,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to work at a community college, because they’ve opened the doors to allow me to develop as a professional.”
Cain said Pierce College’s awards in areas like closing achievement gaps as one of the things that attracted him to the community college.
“I think I can only enhance that,” he said, adding he wants to uphold Pierce College as a important local resource and bring the Puyallup community closer by working with businesses and civic organizations in the area.
“What does the Puyallup resident need (and) how can we best serve that?” Cain said. “I want to spend a lot of time with the community (so) they see Pierce as a first-choice option.”
The five-month process to choose a new Pierce College Puyallup president came after former president Marty Cavalluzzi accepted the president position at Olympic College in December. A 14-member committee of staff, students and community members helped select the new president.
“Dr. Cain will add his passion about student success to the hard work already taking place at Pierce College,” Pierce College Chancellor and CEO Michele Johnson said. “His extensive and well-rounded experience and talent will add a new perspective to our leadership team, and his personal story serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative value of community college education and the work that we do.”