Fred Grogan’s list of accomplishments in the 28 years he has spent in the Metropolitan Community College system is, hyperbole-speaking, a few miles long.
The president of MCC’s campus at Longview in Lee’s Summit is retiring at the end of June and though he will miss the daily challenges of running a campus, he knows enjoying some of life’s simplest pleasures are just a few weeks away.
“We’re going to go out and travel a little bit,” Grogan said of he and his wife’s immediate plans, shortly after a retirement reception held in his honor April 25 at the school. “We haven’t had that flexibility in the past, so I look forward to that. I think we are looking forward to spending more quality time together. We have been able to take one small trip together for the first time in a long time and that was real nice and gave us a taste of things to come.”
Well-wishers at Grogan’s retirement party chided him – many referred to him as a ‘great’ wine connoisseur – and poked fun at his whimsical, yet practical, ways.
“I’m feeling rather humble, Grogan said, “in terms of all the nice things that are said, the focus and attention – I think the focus and attention should be on what we’ve all done together, but I do appreciate the recognition from folks.”
Not lost in the on-going laughter was the impact Grogan’s leadership made on the community college system in the Kansas City area.
“He’s been a phenomenal mentor,” said Joe Seabrooks, president of the Penn Valley campus. “In fact, when I made the decision to apply to be a college president, Fred was one of the first people who visited with me. He was so gracious; so upfront and honest about what it took. I really appreciated him for that. I will also deeply miss him because you will not meet an individual who cares more about our students and their experience. He has always bent of over backwards to give faculty what they need, staff what they need…to help give students what they need, so they can have the best possible experience.
“Part of his legacy is this magnificent college that’s grounded in student success. He’s the absolute champion for students and learning and he will be forever missed. We’re forever grateful for his contributions. “
Grogan’s ties to Lee’s Summit run deep. He and wife, Julie, have lived in Lee’s Summit since 1985 and the couple has two daughters, Sarah Shore of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc. and Rachel Roosth. A granddaughter, Ella Shore, is also in the mix.
Throughout the years, Grogan has served as a board member of the Lee’s Summit Planning Commission, the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Lee’s Summit Symphony, Lee’s Summit Civic Roundtable, New Longview Foundation, and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council Advisory Board.
He also served a three-year term on the Commission for Institutional Effectiveness of the American Council of Education and on the Lee’s Summit and South Kansas City/Grandview legislative committees. Also included was a term as chair of the SKC/Grandview group.
“We’ll stay right here and continue to be involved in a number of different ways,” said Grogan, who is also a Rotary member. “But I’m happy to take some time to relax a little bit and see where we go from there.”
Grogan joined the MCC system in 1985 as dean of instruction at the Penn Valley campus, a post he held until 1989 when he became dean of institutional and student development at MCC’s Longview campus. In 1998, he began a 15-year run as president of MCC-Longview.
During Grogan’s tenure as president, MCC-Longview was the first community college to be named a “College of the Year” by TIME magazine/The Princeton Review in 2001. The honor was based on the college’s Writing Across the Curriculum program. Today, WAC is recognized as the model program among the nation’s community colleges.
MCC-Longview, under Grogan’s leadership, was selected as one of 10 community colleges in the nation to be designated as a founding member of the national first year of college initiative and one of a dozen community colleges designated as New Media Center for excellence in application of technology to teaching and learning.
Grogan also oversaw new career programs in automotive technology, English-as-a-second language, and geographic information system, and watched as the liberal arts building expanded with the Cultural Arts Center opening in 2008.
“We’ve grown a lot,” Grogan said. “I think when the college opened we had about 1,000 students. Now, we’ve been as high as 8,000 students.”
Besides traveling with Julie, Ella is another reason Grogan is counting down the days until his official retirement June 30.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my granddaughter,” he said. “I’m looking forward to spoiling her.”