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MJC presidential search down to four finalists
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The search to replace former Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewenstein has narrowed to just four candidates, with open forums scheduled for Dec. 5-8 in advance of a final decision.

The finalists are: Edward C Bush, Vice-President, Student Services, Riverside City College; Karen Walters Dunlap, Vice-President of Instruction, MJC; Dale Paul Parnell Jr., Vice President of Academic Affairs, Rio Hondo College; and, Pamela D. Walker, Vice President, Student Services, American River College. Dunlap has served as interim MJC president since Loewenstein’s departure.

Loewenstein resigned in May amidst concerns over offensive song lyrics he had penned while performing as a singer-songwriter under the stage name Gaither Drake between 2000 and 2009. Those lyrics discussed child abuse, cocaine use, and compared Amtrak with Nazi Germany.

Loewenstein was MJC’s sixth president in the last 10 years. His tenure lasted just 10 months, in which time he oversaw a massive budget cut which eliminated more than 50 MJC employees and entire academic disciplines.

The hunt for Loewenstein’s replacement employed executive recruiters Ralph, Anderson and Associates, who advertised nationally for the position. Initial interviews were conducted Nov. 16 by a search committee which included representatives from the Yosemite Community College District administration and MJC faculty.

The four candidates are expected to participate in open forums during the week of Dec. 5-8, at each of the two MJC campuses. A final schedule is yet to be finalized, but each candidate will discuss his or her preparation for the position and educational and leadership philosophy, and will answer questions.

Forum attendees will be given comment cards which will be forwarded on to the YCCD Board of Trustees, who will be tasked with making the final decision on MJC’s new president.