BTC President Patricia McKeown to retire

Bellingham Technical College President Patricia McKeown will retire in June of 2015.

McKeown, 63, has worked at the college for more than 30 years and took over as president in fall of 2010. She filled in for a temporary position in 1984 and eventually moved on to become a curriculum specialist and program coordinator at the college. She became president following 10 years as vice president of instruction.

“It has been an honor to serve as Bellingham Technical College’s president for the past five years,” McKeown said in a prepared statement. “Our college is recognized for its high-quality programs, commitment to the success of our students and our responsiveness to our industry and community.”

McKeown contributed to the college’s success in a variety of ways, BTC Director of Communications Marni Saling Mayer said. She helped get BTC degrees to transfer to baccalaureate programs, and she developed new programs based on industry needs. McKeown also spearheaded a successful federal grant program.

BTC was recognized by The Aspen Institute as one of the top 120 technical colleges in the nation in 2012.

Enrollment has gone down in McKeown’s five years as president. There were 2,291 full-time students in fall of 2010, and there are now 1,949 full-time students. Mayer said those numbers are a bit skewed, since more people were going to technical colleges during the recession. The college has seen a four percent enrollment growth since last year.

McKeown is unsure about her post-retirement plans, but they will include spending more time with her family and friends, Mayer said.

BTC’s board of trustees will oversee the selection of a new president. Details of the search will be announced in the coming months.