Triton College Names New President

edit_MaryRita_7063_pp_8x10B.jpgTuesday, November 24, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Roughly a year after the retirement of former president Patricia Granados, Triton College has announced her replacement. On Nov. 23, the college’s board of trustees approved the selection of Mary-Rita Moore, 54, to the position. She will be the eighth president to head the school in its 51-year history.

Moore had been serving as interim president since January. She was selected from among a group of four finalists in which she was the only Illinois representative. Michael Gavin, Jeremy D. Brown and Anthony Cruz were the other finalists.

“I am delighted to accept the position of Triton College president, and I fully embrace the important responsibility of leading the college in providing student-centered programs and services with excellence,” Moore noted in a Nov. 23 statement.

Moore, a native of Norridge, has worked at Triton for more than 20 years. She started her tenure there as an academic adviser before rising to the ranks of associate dean of student services, dean of enrollment services, and eventually associate vice president of strategic planning — a position to which she was appointed in 2012.

In that position, Moore “led the development of Triton’s seven-year strategic plan and also played a critical role” in maintaining the college’s accreditation, according to the statement.

Mark Stephens, Triton’s board chairman, Moore’s long tenure at the college, which he said “has included working in a variety of areas that give her the knowledge and insight that will serve Triton College well as she works with our entire staff to move Triton forward with the benefit of our students and community.”

When it was under discussion, the board’s proposed contract for Moore entailed a $225,000 a year salary over four years. By press time, it wasn’t known whether or not those terms had changed before the board vote. School officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Moore comes along at a time of significant change at the institution — and some controversy. Last year, the board raised some eyebrows when it voted to approve a 27.4 percent salary increase for Moore’s predecessor, bumping her salary to $310,000 at the time of her retirement and making Granados the highest-paid community college top executive in the state.

The salary increase triggered what is called the “6 percent penalty,” which is a fine imposed by the state to discourage final-year pay hikes to outgoing educators, since they cause an undue burden on the state’s already over-burdened pension system.

The salary increase triggered what is called the “6 percent penalty,” which is a fine imposed by the state to discourage final-year pay hikes to outgoing educators, since they cause an undue burden on the state’s already over-burdened pension system.

Triton is also in the middle of one of the largest capital renovations in the school’s history. Earlier this year, Triton reopened its health and science facility, or H Building, after a $16 million renovation largely funded by state capital grants. In addition, the college is in the middle of a $53 million Campus Renewal Project. 

A multitude of other projects are in the works — a roughly $14 million renovation to the east athletic complex is scheduled to be completed in December. The renewal project also includes modernizing the student center and child development center, among other capital improvements.

A previous version of this article incorrectly noted that the H building renovation was funded through the college’s $53 million Campus Renewal Projects. The Village Free Press regrets this error. VFP

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