The Frederick County Community College (FCC) Board of Trustees announced Wednesday that Thomas Powell will take over as interim president for the college beginning in August.

The college’s current president, Elizabeth Burmaster, announced earlier this year that she will retire in July.

Powell is well-known within Frederick County. He currently serves as president of St. John’s Catholic Prep (SJCP) and previously served as president of Mount St. Mary’s University for more than a decade. Powell announced in January that he would leave SJCP at the end of the school year.

Powell will serve as president of FCC for one year while the college conducts a national search for its next president, who will begin in that role in July 2022.

Board of Trustees Chair John Molesworth said Powell will only serve for a year and will not be considered for the permanent president position.

“The appointment of Dr. Thomas Powell, an experienced president emeritus, as interim will mean there is no break in the strong leadership of FCC as the college begins a national search for the next president,” Molesworth said in a prepared statement.

Powell said in a statement he is honored to be appointed to serve as interim president.

“I have long been an admirer of the superb education provided by FCC in preparing students for the workforce and further education,” he said. “I’m honored to have been selected ... and to follow President Burmaster. Her leadership and vision have been exemplary. We owe her a debt of gratitude. FCC is a gem in our community.”

In other FCC news:

The FCC Board of Trustees was also briefed on summer and fall operation plans for the college.

FCC will continue to operate in three learning formats for the summer and fall semesters. These learning formats are a combination of virtual, hybrid and in-person instruction. The goal, however, is to slowly increase the number of in-person course offerings, said Tony Hawkins, provost and vice president for academic affairs at FCC.

“Part of the hybrid format allows students to come to class in smaller groups to maintain physical distancing requirements, and we’re hoping that by allowing smaller groups to gather we’ll be able to offer more classes in a face-to-face setting,” he said.

Trustees were also given a highlight of a new virtual orientation the college recently rolled out.

The orientation program is made up of several videos and online tools to help students with the college transition and provide information on everything from financial aid to college success.

“We wanted to make sure we were meeting students where they were so that they could access it any time, any place,” said Anne Scholl-Fiedler, coordinator of career services at FCC.

Trustees seemed excited about the new platform.

“It’s time for me to go back to college. If I had this, I might have done a lot better,” Trustee Tom Lynch said. “Man, what a welcoming message. Why couldn’t they do that in my day?”

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