Jean Runyon will be the next president of Piedmont Virginia Community College, the college announced Thursday.
Runyon, who is currently a campus vice president of Front Range Community College in Colorado, will begin her new role in July 2022. PVCC is planning a press event in July and a series of other events to introduce her to the community, according to the news release.
Since 1999, PVCC has been led by Frank Friedman who is retiring at the end of this school year after more than 20 years as president. Runyon will be PVCC’s sixth president; the college opened in 1972.
Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois picked Runyon from among four finalists that were chosen following a national search.
“Jean Runyon is an impressive and experienced community college leader and I believe she is ready to lead the faculty and staff of PVCC and together do great things,” DuBois said in a news release. “Jean offers multi-state leadership experience. She has led innovative efforts to connect adult learners with short-term training programs, which is increasingly important for our colleges, and she has been a successful leader in transfer education.”
Runyon has worked with Front Range Community College since 2015. She’s the top executive at the college’s Larimer campus, which has given her experience with fundraising and developing programs to meet an area’s workforce needs. She’s also a fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Rising Presidents fellowship.
She’s also worked in leadership roles at Anne Arundel Community College and started her career teaching at the College of Southern Maryland.
Runyon visited PVCC last week for interviews, a tour and forums with students, staff and faculty. In an open forum, she said she was drawn to PVCC’s student success framework, as well as to what she saw as the college’s culture of care for students. She also said she’s focused her career on ensuring students’ success.
“Being here these past few days has affirmed that PVCC is an excellent institution making a tremendous contribution in our community and on our college campuses,” she said at the forum.
After interviewing the four finalists, the PVCC board recommended a candidate to DuBois. No details on that recommendation were released Thursday.
Lola Richardson, chair of the PVCC board, said in a statement that hiring a new president was “a long, detailed and daunting process” but ultimately worth it.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Runyon to PVCC and believe she will be able to build upon the success and great potential that exists here, not just at the College but throughout the community,” Richardson said in the release. “PVCC’s success can be felt across our service region today. With the experience she brings and by working with the college’s dedicated staff and faculty, Dr. Runyon is sure to help take PVCC to the next level.”