Share This Page

WCCC chief announces retirement timeline

| Thursday, June 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland County Community College President Daniel Obara told trustees Wednesday night that he will retire next summer when his contract with the college ends.

Obara, 70, of Hempfield, was hired in 1996 as vice president of academic affairs and student services. He was named president of the college that enrolls more than 6,000 students in April 2009, succeeding former president Steven Ender.

Obara said retiring next June makes sense because WCCC will be finishing two construction projects — a new campus in Latrobe and an Advanced Technology Center at the former Sony plant in East Huntingdon — as well as completing a periodic accreditation and a major fundraising campaign.

“It's going to be a very appropriate time for new leadership to come in,” Obara said after the monthly meeting. “When the board extended my contract two years ago, I asked them just to extend it those two years rather than three years so that we would have this period where I think it's going to be very favorable for the college to transition to new leadership.”

Obara said he and his wife plan to stay in the area, golfing, kayaking and biking on local trails. He said they plan to travel to visit their grandchildren.

Professor Mike Hricik, president of WCCC's professional association, congratulated Obara at the meeting, calling him a “great friend of the faculty” and noting Obara can still drop and do 100 push-ups.

Reflecting on his years at the school, Obara said graduations have been a highlight.

“The thing that is always most gratifying to me is seeing our students graduate at commencement ... and having the knowledge that we've been part of that in some way to enable students to transition to much more productive lives,” Obara said.

In other business, college trustees approved a $38.7 million operating budget and a $7.05 million capital budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Trustees gave the budget that includes 3-percent raises to administrators, staff and coaches and increases college spending about $330,600 preliminary approval last month.

Trustees also approved construction contracts for the Latrobe Center totaling nearly $8.5 million, about $1.5 million above original projections, and for the Advanced Technology Center totaling about $9.4 million, about $1 million below initial estimates.

The board also hired James J. Lutz, of Hempfield, to a newly created position of director of purchasing at an annual salary of $54,799. Lutz holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a purchasing management certificate from Penn State University.

He previously worked as purchasing manager for Hygienic Corp./Performance Health Inc. in Export and Akron, Ohio.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.