Mid-Plains Community College President Ryan Purdy has been named as the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 5 Pacesetter of the Year for 2016. The Pacesetter of the Year award recognizes a community college president or CEO who has demonstrated special leadership and support in community college marketing and public relations. It is awarded annually in each of NCMPR’s seven districts. District recipients automatically become a nominee for the national award, which is presented at the national conference every spring.
As a nominee for District 5, Purdy was up against community college presidents from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, the Canadian province of Manitoba, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Purdy became president of MPCC in May of 2013 after spending more than a year as the college’s interim president. Since taking over the helm, Purdy has been instrumental in growing enrollment from 7,837 in 2012 to 9,150 in 2015 - making MPCC the only community college in Nebraska with positive enrollment increases. He has also focused resources to deliver a 60 percent rating in full-time student retention, accomplishing the growth with either no increase or a reduced local property tax asking for the past seven years. Purdy has supported the development of new programs in health occupations, including Fire Science, and helped implement new curriculum for the college’s Associate Degree of Nursing program. He put into action significant distance learning upgrades - raising the number of download sites from three to seven. Purdy was a driving force behind a new Sunday College two-year, associate degree program which utilized the newly expanded distance learning system to provide that programming throughout MPCC’s 20,500-square-mile service area. Purdy has also been instrumental in committing more than $3 million in equipment upgrades to the college’s career and technical programs. He has continuously been at the forefront of working with local communities to raise the funds required to build new campuses. In July, MPCC broke ground on an almost $2 million campus in Valentine. Purdy spent countless days and repeated trips meeting with community leaders to secure $1 million for that project.
At the state level, Purdy has spent the past two years as chair of the CEO Council that represents Nebraska’s five community colleges. During the 2015-16 legislative session, he repeatedly was asked to provide testimony related to the state’s portion of the funding formula. He focused on several bills that attempted to provide property tax relief, but in doing so, would have severely damaged the growth potential for the state’s community colleges. During the legislative session, he was also requested to be in Lincoln to serve as the leader of the Nebraska community college system and to help convince opponents to consider the consequences of the bill.
President Purdy was recognized with the Pacesetter award during the annual NCMPR District 5 conference in Kansas City, Mo. on Oct. 2. The national conference will be March 27-29 in Charleston, S. C.