Chet Burton’s last day at WNC was Friday, Aug. 24. Burton, who served as WNC’s president, has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). Mark Ghan, vice president of administrative and legal services, will assume the role of Officer in Charge at Western until an acting or interim president is named and NSHE takes steps toward filling the vacancy.
Of the decision to accept the new role, Burton said, “I would not be making this transition if I was not confident that the college is on solid ground, with a talented leadership team in place at all levels to ensure our students will continue to receive a first-class education. I believe the college is in a good place and the next president will be walking into a very favorable situation.”
Burton has led WNC since 2013, and was named president in 2015. Under his leadership, a number of WNC programs and initiatives have flourished. Jump Start College program has expanded, enabling students to earn an associate degree before they graduate from high school. The college’s Veterans Resource Center has grown into a model Nevada program, which helps veterans and their families transition to higher education, while providing indispensable mentoring and tutoring.
In addition, the college’s Career and Technical Education programs have expanded and responded to an industrial spike in the region triggered by the arrival of Tesla Motors and Panasonic. To stimulate skills and employment for Nevadans, WNC’s Applied Industrial Technology program continues to evolve to prepare students for manufacturing technician and mechatronics credentials, and a number of other industry credentials have been fast-tracked with accelerated courses in Welding, Machine Tool Technology, Construction, Cisco Technology and Automotive Mechanics.
Chancellor Thom Reilly and Board of Regents Chair Kevin Page will visit WNC on September 18 to listen to faculty, students, and other constituencies about their wishes for an acting or interim president and a potential search. Their recommendation will then go to the Board of Regents for approval.