Brian Ebersole to retire as president of Bates

Brian Ebersole yesterday announced he will retire as president of Bates Technical College on May 1.

“I do this with mixed feelings. I have greatly enjoyed my work at Bates,” said Ebersole, a former mayor of Tacoma. “Bates Technical College is a wonderful institution with an important mission, dedicated staff and determined students.”

Colleagues had high praise for Ebersole’s tenure as president.

“Brian has made significant contributions to Bates during his time as president,” said Jack Skanes, Bates’ board chair. “Enrollment is at more than 100 percent capacity, and job placements for students are very high. That’s what our mission at Bates is all about.”

Lyle Quasim, Bates’ board vice-chair, agreed: “Brian has a skill for placing the right people in the right jobs. His quiet style of internal reorganization has the college in great shape to continue on with its mission. His interaction with students had been especially rewarding. He has always considered his primary work at Bates to be transforming students’ lives by improving their job skills.”

Former Bates board chair Carolyn Lake cited Ebersole’s success in connecting Bates with the community.

“The new partnerships with the University of Washington Tacoma, City University, Evergreen, area high schools, the Urban League, the Puyallup tribe, the World Affairs Council, MultiCare, and other local industries, will enhance technical education in our region for many years to come,” Lake said. “Brian has also been successful in securing state and federal funding to support the college’s public television station, KBTC, an important regional resource.”

A fellow technical college president also had kind words for Ebersole.

“Brian has been a leader in building cooperation and coordination among the local community and technical colleges,” said Clover Park Technical College President Sharon McGavick, who also serves on the Tacoma City Council. “The college presidents are now working together to improve educational opportunities for students throughout Pierce County.”

After 32 years of service in the public sector, Ebersole said he is ready to pursue international opportunities in the private sector which reflect longstanding interests.

“I make this decision while my age and health still afford me the ability to pursue new challenges,” he said.

Ebersole, 55, was selected as president of Bates on Nov. 1, 2000. He previously served 12 years in the state Legislature, including time as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was also elected twice as mayor of Tacoma.

“Brian will be greatly missed,” Skanes said. “The board understands his decision, we appreciate all that he has done for the college, and we wish him well. The board will want to conduct a thorough process to select the next president, and that will require a thoughtful, deliberate procedure. I will be recommending to the board at our next meeting that Sally Cofchin, executive vice president of instruction, serve as the interim president.”