Collin College President Dr. Cary A. Israel announced Wednesday he is stepping down after nearly 16 years of distinguished service as the community college district’s chief executive. He plans to stay through the first of the year, and then take time off with his family before pursuing any new challenges.
Dr. Israel is the second and longest-standing president in the history of the college. The announcement comes on the heels of a banner year for the college. In the last year alone, Collin College celebrated two Academic All-USA students, a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, a Carnegie Texas Professor of the Year, a $2 million gift for scholarships, a Minnie Stevens Piper Professorship, the Tech Titan Award and top honors as a finalist for the Presidential Award on the national Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
According to Dr. Israel, “I am heartened by the tremendous impact we continue to have on our community, state and nation. It has been a marvelous journey and a privilege to serve along side so many gifted people in this premier academic institution of higher education.”
During his presidency, the college has maintained or lowered the tax rate for 15 consecutive years, and tuition is the lowest in the state of Texas. Annual enrollment under his leadership has grown to 52,000, and the college expanded campus facilities by nearly one million square feet. In addition, the college earned acclaim as a national Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, won $20 million in federal grant funds for workforce development, secured more than $11 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and became the only college or university in Texas with six Carnegie Professors of the Year--more than Cornell, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Rice, Texas Christian University and The University of Texas at Austin.
Collin College’s Phi Theta Kappa student honor society chapter earned ranking as third in the world, and the college’s young adult council of the League for United Latin American Citizens was named the National Young Adult Council of the Year. Just a few of the new programs during his tenure include university pre-admission, the Collin Higher Education Center, the Center for Scholarly and Civic Engagement, Weekend College, Student Leadership Academy, alternative teacher certification and a Health Sciences Academy with Plano Independent School District.
Mac Hendricks, who chairs the district’s Board of Trustees, praised Dr. Israel’s accomplishments. “Cary Israel’s presidency has resulted in tremendous enrollment growth, academic excellence, sweeping transformation, historic campus expansion and record philanthropy as well as community involvement,” said Hendricks. “Tenure like his is unheard of in higher education, and he will leave a remarkable legacy at Collin College.”
Locally, Dr. Israel has been honored as the 2010 Plano Citizen of the Year and received the Leadership Award from the Collin County Business Alliance last year. He received the American Association of Community College Trustees’ CEO of the Year Award for the Northeast Region in 1996 and the Western Region in 2007. Dr. Israel received the Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction and the Keeping America Working Award, and the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations named him the national Pacesetter of the Year.
Details on a national search for the next president will be revealed as trustees finalize the transition plan. “Dr. Israel’s size 16 cowboy boots will be very difficult to fill, but we will ensure an orderly and thoughtful leadership transition,” said Hendricks.
About Collin College
Collin College serves nearly 53,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate in a wide range of disciplines. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development. For more information visit collin.edu.