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Tacoma Community College » About TCC » News & Events » Announcement About TCC's 11th President

Announcement About TCC's 11th President

Ivan L. Harrell, II, Ph.D. is the 11th president of Tacoma Community College. He was appointed by the Board of Trustees after an extensive national search. Dr. Harrell will begin his tenure on May 1, 2018.

Dr. Harrell most recently served as the Executive Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Before Georgia Piedmont, he served as the Vice President of Success at Lone Star College, Dean of Student Services at Anne Arundel Community College, Coordinator for Student Affairs at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and Assistant to the Vice President at Tallahassee Community College. You can view his CV here, and read about the terrific experiences and leadership skills he brings to our campus community.

As Dr. Harrell packs up and moves to the great Pacific Northwest, we had some questions for him.

Do you like rain? It rains a lot here.

“I do enjoy rain. The main reason is because rain is critical to growth.  Also, I enjoy relaxing and watching a movie in bed on a nice and rainy Saturday afternoon.  I will need help and support with from the entire college community in helping me find the umbrellas that I’m sure I’ll lose and leave around campus.  I have a problem keeping up with umbrellas. J”

What was it about TCC that attracted you to come here and serve as our president?

“The first thing that I was attracted to was the comprehensiveness of the college.  TCC provides a comprehensive catalog of education opportunities for students and comprehensive list of student support programs that provide all students the greatest opportunities to be successful. 

The second thing I was attracted to was the college’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  This is important because as a college we must be committed to the success of each student.  The last thing, which became more and more apparent when I was on campus, is TCC is filled with faculty and a Board of Trustees who are strongly committed to student success.” 

What skills do you possess that would best serve our campus community?

“I have the ability to work well with all types of people and organizations.  This could be the result of me being able to work with diverse people through all of my professional personal experiences.  This ability is important because I want to ensure that TCC is integrally connected to the community - and that those connections result in positive relationships for TCC and the community entities that the college works with.”

How would you describe your leadership style?

“I work hard to ensure that when leading I am collaborative, inclusive, transparent, visionary, engaged, student-centered, data-informed, motivational, empathetic and understanding.”

How would you describe your chief responsibility as TCC’s president?

“My chief responsibility is to ensure all TCC faculty and staff are working to create, sustain and continually improve a college community and culture that is conducive and effectively promotes student success, learning and achievement.” 

What are some of the priorities you want to tackle in your first few months as President?

“My first priority will be to listen.  It will be extremely important for me to hear from students, faculty, and staff about their perceptions of TCC, including what is great and what needs to be improved.  It will also be important for me to begin to develop a thorough understanding of the culture of the institution and the impact of the culture on promoting student success. 

Another priority will be to interact with community leaders and organizations, so I can better understand the opportunities TCC has to continually build and improve relationships within the community. 

Additionally, since the current strategic plan ends this year, a major priority will be to begin to engage the college community in the development of a shared vision and direction, and the actions that are needed to achieve them through the development of a new plan.

In your words, what is the role of community colleges, and why are they important?

“Community colleges play an integral part of being a strong catalyst for educational attainment and workforce development within the communities that the colleges have been entrusted to support.  These institutions are positioned to be able to quickly adapt to ensure that the needs of the community are being met.  Community colleges are also places where diverse students, with diverse experiences and diverse needs can obtain an education that will allow them to achieve their diverse goals.”

Is there anything else you would like to share?

“I am extremely excited to be joining this great college and great community.  I am not a perfect person, and will not be a perfect president, but I can assure you I will work tirelessly to provide the type of leadership and inspiration that this great college community will be proud of.”

Age:42.  My birthday is June 21.
Family:I don’t have a partner or children, but thanks to my sister and two brothers I have a tribe of nieces, nephews and great-nephews.  I also have a wonderful mother and father who have been married for 42 years.
Hometown:Oberlin, OH
Schools attended:Wittenberg University (OH), Vanderbilt University (TN), Florida State University.
Degrees:B.A. in Biology, M. Ed. in Secondary Education, and Ph. D. in Higher Education. 
What would you like us to call you:Students, Dr. H. is cool with me.  Faculty and staff, please call me Ivan.
Last book read:The Perfect Power Within You, by Jack & Cornelia Addington.
Personal interests:In my free time you’ll find me either playing tennis, traveling, enjoying time with family or friends, or just relaxing at home.
First thing you want to do when you arrive to Tacoma:Walk around and enjoy campus and interacting with students, faculty and staff.  I’m also very interested in visiting the museums in Tacoma, such as the Museum of Glass and LeMay-America’s Car Museum.
Social media:Follow me on Twitter @pres_tcc

TCC Presidential Search FAQ


A message from Bob Ryan, Chair, Board of Trustees.


Dear TCC Campus Community Members,

Appointing a president is one of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Trustees. We want to thank the TCC community for their insight and interest this past week with our three TCC President finalists: Dr. Gregory McLeod, Dr. Ivan Harrell and Dr. Peter Maphumulo. All three candidates demonstrated an excellent grasp of the meaning of student success, a commitment to the community college mission and the importance of diversity and inclusion.

After reviewing our notes from AGB Search and survey results from all of you – thank you! – and interviewing each candidate last week, we have selected our next TCC President. This leader consistently demonstrated intellect, integrity and passion, and we believe he will lead us well.

That leader is Dr. Ivan Harrell.

The Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dr. Harrell at Friday’s board meeting, and he has accepted our offer. Dr. Harrell’s start date has yet to be established. The Board of Trustees will officially appoint him as the 11th president of TCC at their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 21st.

Dr. Harrell is currently the Executive Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Previously, he served as the Vice President of Success at Lone Star College and as Dean of Student Services at Anne Arundel Community College. You can view his CV here, and read about the level of experience he will bring to TCC.

Dr. Harrell plans to hit the ground running when he arrives at TCC. Throughout the transition, he will be guided by interim co-presidents Mary Chikwinya and Bill Ryberg, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Tod Treat and Vice President of Human Resources Beth Brooks. We especially wish to recognize and thank Mary and Bill for their excellent leadership as they guided TCC during a critical transitional period. Thanks to them, the Leadership Team, and the hard work of our entire campus, we have a strong foundation that we will continue to build upon.

We also especially thank the TCC Search Committee, who worked extraordinarily hard to present us three outstanding candidates.

TCC will host a series of meet-and-greet events with Dr. Harrell. Stay tuned for more information, as we are excited to welcome him into our campus community.

Our future is bright. Thank you for being part of it.

Bob Ryan, Chair, TCC Board of Trustees

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