NEWARK, Ohio, April 26, 2019 – The Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) Board of Trustees formally installed John M. Berry, Ph.D., as the college's second sole president on Friday, April 26. Several hundred civic and community leaders, national and state legislators, and fellow college and university presidents joined members of the COTC community in celebrating the investiture in the John Gilbert Reese Center's John and Mary Alford Performing Arts Hall on the COTC Newark campus.
Further, Berry articulated his vision for creating a new strategic framework for the college.In his investiture address, Berry reaffirmed COTC's longstanding commitment to technical education and workforce development while underscoring college mandates, including: remaining competitive in changing markets, maintaining quality and fiscal viability, driving completion rates, investing in academic innovation and meeting community expectations.
"Focusing on our future, the new strategic framework will be a living and evolving document designed for change as the needs of the college evolve and interests emerge," said Berry. "Honoring our past, I am confident that the new framework will reflect various themes woven into COTC's history and previous strategic planning."
During the ceremony, COTC Board Chair Robert Montagnese and Vice Chair Steven Cohen presented Berry with the Medallion of Office and College Mace, symbols of the collegiate authority conferred upon Berry by the board of trustees as COTC's chief executive officer.
Remarks were provided by a distinguished list of speakers, including: U.S. Senator Rob Portman; Ohio Department of Higher Education Sr. Vice Chancellor Gary Cates; Executive Dean of the Regional Campuses, Dean and Director at The Ohio State University at Newark William L. MacDonald, Ph.D.; BridgeValley Community and Technical College President Eunice Bellinger, Ph.D.; COTC senior faculty member Scott Wilson; COTC alumna Bryanna Stigger, and son of President Berry, Ryland Berry.
The investiture included performances by Newark's Par Excellence Academy chorus and Ohio State Newark student Sarah Napper. The Rev. Dr. William C. Houston, United Church of Granville, delivered the invocation and benediction.
The COTC board of Trustees selected Berry after a national search that began in April 2018.
"The COTC Board of Trustees has unanimously agreed that Dr. Berry possesses the strategic vision and passion for technical education that will continue to advance COTC's reputation for high-quality educational programs supporting workforce development," said former Board Chair John Hinderer when announcing Berry's selection as president. "He is a proven, results-driven leader with a deep understanding of the higher education landscape and commitment to a student-focused, inclusive environment."
While Berry's role as president at COTC is new, he is far from a stranger to the college, having served as the dean of students at COTC and director of student life at Ohio State Newark from 2000 to 2014. Most recently, Berry served as the vice president for student affairs and college advancement at BridgeValley Community and Technical College in Montgomery, West Virginia. He also previously served at Rhodes State College as vice president for student affairs and at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, as vice president for student services and student development.
He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from The Ohio State University, a Master of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Dr. Berry attributes all of his success in higher education to starting his educational journey at Coastal Carolina Community College.
Photo caption: left to right: COTC Board Chair Robert Montagnese, COTC President John M. Berry, Ph.D., COTC Board Vice Chair Steven Cohen
COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.