Third president in three years resigns


Brianna Rich

Greg Gunderson is set to resign Feb. 11 citing a family emergency. This has left SCCC without a president for the third time in three years.

Seward County Community College’s president resigned after two months on the job. Greg Gunderson released a statement to staff, faculty and students on Tuesday about his abrupt departure. 

“In order to meet the needs of my family to be in Omaha, Nebraska I will be resigning as President of Seward Community College effective Feb. 11, 2022,” Gunderson said.

As news of Gunderson’s departure traveled around campus – students and faculty shared their shocked reactions. Israel Banuelos said he couldn’t believe the announcement. He was one of the few students who interviewed Gunderson as part of the application process. 

Banuelos said, “It seems like he just showed up last week and now he’s leaving.” 

Wade Lyon, director of student life and leadership, saw the situation as an unfortunate event given the fact that many did not get the chance to really meet Gunderson and get to know him. He felt like SCCC didn’t get “a full perspective” or “what he was trying to accomplish.”

“It seems like he just showed up last week and now he’s leaving.”

— Israel Banuelos

Salina Byrd knew there was a new president but mostly forgot that he had started the job.  When she found out about the resignation, Byrd’s eyes went wide. 

“That was quick. Who ran him off?” Byrd said with a chuckle. 

The departure of Gunderson became the third president in three years to leave SCCC. Luke Dowell, vice president of academic affairs, believed that even though this is a difficult situation for the college to be in once again – the reasons for so many president departures is not the college itself. 

“I honestly do not think it is us at all – it is circumstances in their lives that have led them to that decision,” Dowell said. “Each time, I have supported their decision because they have done what they need to do for themselves and their families. That is why it is difficult for us as a college community and family – we also support each individual and president and you want what’s best for them.” 

Rachel Coleman, executive director of marketing and public relations, believed Gunderson was here to stay and truly enjoyed this job. Just yesterday, he was in the cafeteria eating lunch with students and trying to get to know them. Audra Langley and Jaxon Rios said that he was joking around with them and seemed nice and outgoing.

The two students had different reactions to the resignation. Langley was shocked. “He’s only been here for two months! Are you serious?”

“People come, people go,” Rios said casually and shrugged.

“We have a lot of great people on campus and we will be fine.”

— Luke Dowell

The next step is for the Board of Trustees to start another search for a new president. At the moment, questions regarding a community college without a president go unanswered – the board will meet Thursday for a ‘special’ meeting to form a plan to continue without a president. 

The trustees will determine whether there will be an interim president or what the process will be moving forward. 

Even with the loss of a president, the campus will continue to help every student to improve their lives, Dowell reinforced. Though the college has lost another president – the work in Dowell’s eyes has not stopped.  

“I have hope that this time around we don’t have to sit and wait ‘what is the next president gonna want to do’. When they come on board they can help us continue – it’s not like we stop everything,” said Dowell.  “I have confidence that we will be fine because we have such a strong group of team members all the way from the executives to all the faculty, staff and support staff.

“I use the term that we are the Seward County family, but I truly believe that,” Dowel said. “We have a lot of great people on campus and we will be fine.”

The tale of three presidents:

Super sophomores have had a different president all three years of their time at SCCC, including a fourth that served as an interim.