Tacoma Community College president to retire after 17 years

Pamela Transue, who oversaw improved student learning and a transformed physical campus at Tacoma Community College, is retiring after 17 years as the school’s president.

Transue, a high school dropout who eventually earned a doctorate, told the school’s Board of Trustees last week that she will step down at the end of 2014.

“Under Pamela’s leadership, TCC transformed into a nationally recognized community college,” TCC Board Chairman Chad Wright said in a statement Tuesday. “Her imprint will forever be a part of this college.”

Transue, 64, is the one of the longest-serving presidents in higher education in the state.

Her tenure speaks to the confidence that faculty, staff members and the community had in her during times of both “boom and bust,” said Tod Treat, executive vice president of academic and student affairs.

“A tenure of 17 years in today’s environment is very rare,” Treat said. “You just don’t see presidents stay at institutions for that duration.”

Treat said Transue focused on meeting the needs of all students – including those underrepresented and underprepared – while assuring the “utmost quality” in education.

“That really is a remarkable achievement,” he said.

Transue directed the single-largest physical transformation in the history of TCC, with new and renovated classrooms and other facilities. She felt students deserved and needed contemporary spaces for learning, Treat said.

Transue became president of TCC in July 1997 after working as executive dean of Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus.

TCC has about 10,000 students per quarter.

Transue is paid an annual salary of $212,962. She is out of the country on vacation and was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Her leadership has extended beyond the South 19th Street campus. She previously served as board chairwoman of the American Association of Community Colleges and as president of the Washington Association of Community and Technical College Presidents.

Treat said Transue felt confident about the future of TCC and that the timing was right to step down.

The school said Tuesday the search for her successor will “begin immediately” under the direction of the Board of Trustees.