‘Man for the job’: Regional college president formally installed
“We’re writing history today.”
That was the sentiment of former State Senator Mary Jo White, who chairs the board of trustees of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College.
On Friday afternoon, Founding President Joseph T. Nairn was formally installed in a ceremony at the Struthers Library Theatre.
White said the board found someone who shared the board’s belief in career and technical education in Nairn. “As you can see, he likes a challenge.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati was the distinguished speaker.
The early visionaries of the college “came to me with this concept. I gotta tell you — At first, I wasn’t on board,” he said. “And what really brought me the whole way around… was based upon my travels around Pennsylvania; I came to the conclusion just because we live in a rural (area) doesn’t mean we can’t have the same things” as urban areas. “This college is an example…. (It) does not mean we cannot have a low cost higher education possibility and we have it now.”
Nairn is originally from Aliquippa and Scarnati described him as “one of us. We know you’re taking this job was not without risk. The risk of this endeavor is new. The risk of challenges may be overwhelming. I am convinced you are the man for the job and the face the college needs to succeed.”
Nairn described the trustees as “a great group of leaders” and said he is “deeply honored to be chosen the founding president.
“I pledge I will do all I can to take the college forward… in leading this vital and unique institution,” he continued. “We celebrate gratitude, resilience, and respect.
“The people of this region and resilient and they reserve the opportunity for higher education and family-sustaining jobs,” Nairn said. “Our students show that same resilience.”
“We believe that this could change everything. Innovation for us means to take (the education) where they are. Our focus is on teaching and learning and we are decidedly different. Our institution is based on relationships.”
Nairn said that he regrets “that my parents did not live to see this day.”
He said that the inheritance he received from his parents was enough for him to purchase his doctoral robes.
“When I wear these robes,” he said, “I know she’s with me.”
The college is currently headquartered on the corner of Second Ave. and Market St. in the Jefferson Tea House but will be transitioning to the PNC Building on the corner of Second Ave. and Liberty St. by the end of the year.