SCCC names new president

Morris County native gets the nod

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  • Jon Connolly, formerly the vice president and academic dean at Kennebec Valley Community College in Maine, has been named the new president at Sussex County Community College.

By Nathan Mayberg

Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees Chairwoman Lorraine Parker announced on Monday that a new college president has been chosen.

Jon Connolly, formerly the vice president and academic dean at Kennebec Valley Community College in Maine, is scheduled to take over from interim president Frank Nocella.

Nocella is expected to return to his position as vice president of finance and operations when Connolly starts his job around Nov. 1.

The search for a new president began after the departure of former president Paul Mazur.

The Sussex County Community Board of Trustees held a special session on Sept. 3 where they met in executive session and agreed to offer Connolly a contract.

No contract has yet been finalized by press time.

Parker is hopeful a contract will be approved by the board's next meeting on Sept. 22.

Connolly holds a degree in biology from Colby College in Maine, a master's degree in Forest Science from Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Maine.

He taught biology at the University of Maine, Allegheny College and Colby College. He also was a teaching assistant and guest lecturer at Yale University, according to biographical information provided by Sussex County Community College. In addition, he formerly served as a dean at Lone Star College.

He was interim president at Sheridan College and Gillette College in the Northern Wyoming community college district.

Connolly, a native of Morris County, was among five finalists for the job after a review of 46 candidates by a search committee comprised of faculty, staff, administrators, members of the Board of Trustees and members of the committee.

Connolly was chosen after a round of interviews with the Board of Trustees and after spending two days at the college meeting with members of the college community and public.

Speaking by phone on Tuesday, Parker said Connolly "certainly was well appreciated by all of the constituent groups who interviewed him."

She hopes he will be a "wonderful breath of fresh air" for the school.

"What we want to do is establish much better contact with the community," Parker said.

Connolly will be expected to develop an open process on working on the college's curriculum, budget and other aspects of a "participatory governance," Parker said.

In an email announcing Connolly's selection, Parker said, "Dr. Connolly brings a new energy, optimism and an era of excellence to SCCC. Under his leadership we will be the college of first choice in Sussex County."

Reporter Nathan Mayberg can be reached by email at or by calling 845-469-9000 ext. 359.

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