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ATU-Ozark boss to leave for job in Ohio

Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, who has overseen significant expansion of programs, facilities and enrollment during her tenure as chancellor of the Ozark campus of Arkansas Tech University, has been named the president of Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio.

Blondin is set to begin in her new role on July 1. She succeeds Dr. Karen Rafinski, who is retiring after 16 years as CSCC president.

"Dr. Blondin is a dynamic leader who is very excited about moving the College to the next level," Jim Doyle, chair of the Clark State Board of Trustees, said in a statement. "Throughout the interview process and campus visit, Blondin energized faculty, staff and board members. We are very confident in her ability to lead the College into the future and continue the growth and impressive legacy that Dr. Rafinski has built."

Blondin joined ATU-Ozark as its chief academic officer in August 2005. She was promoted to chancellor in June 2006 and has been instrumental in a period of growth at Ozark that included an enrollment increase of 562% and the addition of 16 new academic and technical programs.

“Dr. Jo Alice Blondin utilized her considerable talents and energy to create a learning environment that will benefit the students of Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus for generations to come,” Dr. Robert C. Brown, president of Arkansas Tech University, said in an ATU statement. “Dr. Blondin represents the best in educational leadership because she is a devoted advocate for her students. We are saddened to see her go, but thankful for all of her efforts on behalf of Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus.”

A nationwide search for the next ATU-Ozark chancellor will begin this spring.

During her time as chancellor at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, Blondin oversaw the addition of Associate of Applied Science degree programs in fields such as business technology and allied health.

In fall 2012, enrollment at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus rose above 2,000 students for the first time ever. Clark State reports 5,139 credit students for Fall 2011, with 2,239 registered as full-time students.

Blondin said she is “hands down most proud of the total and complete transformation” of the Ozark campus and its offerings in recent years.

“And I’m proud that we are becoming a school of choice,” she said.

Blondin deflected questions about her accomplishments at ATU-Ozark by repeatedly stressing the involvement of the “Tech family” in reaching goals.

“That’s something I’ll miss here. I’ll miss working for all these great people here who made this happen. ... If you have not been here every day, it’s really hard to understand how important the Tech family is to our success,” Blondin said.

Students at ATU-Ozark may now study cardiovascular technology and prepare for careers as occupational therapy assistants and physical therapy assistants.

“Her vision also led to the addition of programs that are tied to the local economy, such as the decision to offer a technical certificate in viticulture for individuals interested in careers in the wine industry, and Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus regularly sets up off-site training locations where displaced workers can learn new skills for re-entry to the workforce,” noted the ATU statement.

ATU-Ozark also oversses the Arkansas Tech Career Center near Russellville High School as well as the adult education programs in Franklin, Logan and Johnson counties.

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“Personally and professionally, the presidency at Clark State Community College is a great opportunity, and I look forward to working with the board, faculty, staff, students and the community,” Blondin said.

Clark County had a 2010 population of 138,333, with Springfield at almost 61,000 in population. Springfield is home to a Navistar manufacturing plant that produces International brand trucks. The city is also near the massive Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which in addition to being home to the Air Force Materiel Command is home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

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