CLC board votes to extend president's contract to 2025
The College of Lake County Board this week voted to extend President Lori Suddick's contract for three more years, through June 30, 2025.
Suddick has served as the Grayslake-based college's top administrator since May 2018.
The vote was 5-2 to extend Suddick's contract. Trustees Robert Tomei and Gerri Songer cast the dissenting votes.
"I don't feel that I've been here long enough to feel confident with a 3-year term, so at this point I vote nay," Songer said.
Tomei said in a statement Wednesday he believed more time was needed to foster a collaborative relationship before he felt comfortable committing to any kind of lengthy contract term for Suddick.
Both Songer and Tomei were elected last April. Songer ran unopposed for a 6-year term, and Tomei defeated Vaseem Iftekhar to win a 2-year term.
Suddick was selected to lead CLC in December 2017 after a monthslong process undertaken by the previous board of trustees. The board at the time included Richard Anderson, who served 47 years on the board to become the longest-serving community college trustee in the state, and William Griffin, who served 24 years on the board. Both men retired and were given trustee emeritus status last year.
Only current board chair Amanda Howland, who was elected in 2009, and Matthew Stanton, who was elected in 2017, were on the board when Suddick was hired. Suddick said Wednesday she was proud of what she and the leadership team had accomplished so far in her tenure, including increasing graduation rates and student retention as well as the amount of dual-credit opportunities for high school students.
Under the terms of the contract, Suddick's annual base salary is $293,178 starting July 1. She also will receive a $1,350 monthly automobile allowance.
Suddick said that in the coming years her team will place significant focus on ensuring the Advanced Technology Center building in Gurnee and the Lakeshore Campus Student Center in Waukegan are completed and launch successfully. But getting the buildings in place is only the first step, she said.
"We have the opportunity to create dynamic environments and programming for students, community members and employees," Suddick said.
Before joining CLC, Suddick spent 18 years at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wisconsin, starting as a faculty member and working her way up to vice president of learning and later chief academic officer. Suddick was selected in 2016 to be part of the Aspen Institute's Presidential Fellowship, a highly selective yearlong program to prepare 40 academic leaders for community college presidencies.
Upon her hiring, Anderson said he hoped Suddick would help CLC compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a big monetary award given out every two years by the Aspen Institute. So far, CLC has not been a finalist for the prize.