Next week begins a new era in the history of East Central College, as current president Dr. Ed Jackson steps down and Dr. Jon Bauer takes his position as the institution’s sixth president.
Since 2005, Bauer has served as the college’s vice president and has worked hand-in-hand with Dr. Jackson.
He has worked for the college for the past 17 years. In 1995, he began as the director of public relations and in 1999 he became the director of college relations.
He was promoted to the dean of enrollment management in 2001 and spent one year as the dean of the college’s satellite location in Rolla prior to becoming the college’s chief fiscal officer.
Bauer said the transition to president has gone well so far.
“I don’t think it could have gone any better, and I think that really benefits the institution,” he said.
Jim Perry, ECC board president, said the transition has been the “easiest ever.”
“(Dr. Bauer and Dr. Jackson have) worked together so much in the past seven years,” he said. “We’re losing a good president, but we’re gaining a good one, too. We’re really excited.”
Bauer said his various roles as both a community college student, in administration and now as the parent of an ECC student, have set a solid foundation and helped him understand the institution.
“I’m so passionate about what East Central College does in this region and every day that I’ve worked here that has only deepened,” Bauer said. “I think I also bring a real commitment to the institution and to the region.”
Bauer graduated from Jefferson College in Hillsboro in 1984.
He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Bauer received his MBA from Fontbonne University, St. Louis, and later earned his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Faculty also echoed the praises of Bauer.
“I have tremendous respect for him,” said Harry Waters, professor of political science and geography at the college. “I think he will do very well. I thought it was a very good decision to appoint him president.”
Cookie Hays, vice president of student enrollment, agreed.
“Dr. Bauer has been a true asset to East Central College. His background in communications, as well as his experience in managing various college divisions has given him the broad perspective to be an effective president,” she said. “He is involved in the community and makes decisions that are well-reasoned and fair. Through all this, he maintains a great sense of humor. I look forward to working under his guidance.”
As president, Bauer said he will continue to make sure there are quality academic programs and services for students.
“That is the cornerstone of what East Central College is all about,” Bauer said. “Nothing matters if we don’t have quality programs and we don’t provide quality services to students.”
He said he’s very pleased with the quality now and wants to continue to help students through the college experience.
He said it’s also important to remain the most affordable college in Missouri, as well as to see enrollment grow.
“What we have to offer here is so important that I want to make sure that everyone in the region who could benefit from ECC does so,” he said.
Bauer said the college will look at renewing its strategic plan. A change in administration is a natural time to update the plan, he said, and several high-priority needs identified in the plan have been completed.
Bauer said his first year will consist of a lot of listening to students, faculty, community, employees and the foundation to see what they expect of the institution.
“There’s a lot on the plate right off the bat,” he said. “I’m most excited to see the college continue to grow as a lynchpin to the growth and success of the region. We play such an important part in our community. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
On a personal level, Bauer said he is excited to know that every day and every bit of energy spent on the success of the institution has an impact on a student who wants to go to college and is committed to going to college.
“Knowing the work I’m going to be doing will help make it possible for that student to be here and to continue on to a four-year institution. . . Nothing can be more meaningful than that,” he said.
Bauer serves on the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and as a trustee on the Washington Public Library Board. He is a member of the Mercy Hospital Washington Advisory Board, the 353 Redevelopment Corporation, the Washington Civic Industrial Corporation and the Union Rotary Club.
Additionally, he is a past member of the Franklin County Area United Way Board of Directors, the Franklin County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee and the Union Highway 50 committee.
He is active at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Washington.
Before joining the ECC staff, Bauer was assistant news director at KLPW Radio. He then went on to serve as editor of the Union Missourian from 1989-1995.
The decision to promote Bauer came at the end of September. His term begins July 1.
The college has 212 full-time employees and another 211 part-time faculty and staff members. In addition to the main campus in Union, the college also offers classes in Rolla, Sullivan, Warrenton and Washington.
Bauer and his wife, Barbara, reside in Washington with their three children: Mike, a student at ECC; Matthew, a sophomore at Washington High School; and Molly, a second-grader in the Washington School District
He is ECC’s sixth president following Don Shook, Charles Novak, Dale Gibson, Karen Herzog and Jackson.
The retiring president plans to continue to live in this area.