Pierce College Chancellor retires

Pierce College District Chancellor Steve Wall bid farewell July 1 to colleagues and friends at the district where he has worked for the last 26 years. Wall, who will retire on June 30, has spent the last six years as its top executive and the president of Pierce College Puyallup.

“Steve Wall has been a steady force for good in our colleges and our communities,” said Jim Tsang, chairman of the Pierce College Board of Trustees. “We’ve achieved much under Steve’s leadership, and he’s also helped us gain momentum that will help us in the future.”

Marc Gaspard, the former president of the state senate and a long-time leader in state and local politics, put it this way: “Steve has just been such a natural for the job. He truly enjoys people and he is dedicated to Pierce College. You put those thing in combination, and you have something special.”

In 26 years, Wall has chalked up a lengthy list of achievements, one of the most significant of which is the development of Pierce College Puyallup. Former president Brent Knight asked Wall in 1985 to help develop the Puyallup “extension” programs to adequately serve the fast-growing communities in east Pierce County.

Wall and other Pierce leaders built critical relationships at the state and local levels to develop what is now Pierce College Puyallup. The first building opened in 1989, a second was added in 1996, and with the support of the community and local lawmakers, Pierce Puyallup achieved college status in 1999. With the opening of the College Center building last fall, the college has all the features of a full-service campus. Construction is expected to begin this fall on a child -care center, and three additional buildings are currently in planning stages.

“It’s been an amazing ride for me,” Wall said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been six years, let alone 26. But I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. I think the college is well-positioned to go to the next stage.”

Other notable achievements during Wall’s tenure as district chancellor and Pierce Puyallup president include:

— Recognition of the Pierce College Library as the outstanding community college library in the United States

— The opening of the College Center at Pierce College Puyallup

— A successful campaign to build child-care centers at both colleges

— The creation of a nursing program and a cardiovascular technician program

— The opening of Pierce College Continuing Education Programs at South Hill Park

— The creation of a Center of Excellence for Homeland Security

— Signing of faculty exchange agreement with Beijing Foreign Studies University

— Receipt of the largest financial gift in college history

— Development of Pierce College Foundation

— Linking with eArmyU to offer online programs for soldiers and expansion of other online courses.