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College of Southern Nevada president announces retirement

College of Southern Nevada’s longtime president will retire Jan. 31.

Michael Richards, 70, who has been president of the state’s largest institution of higher learning for nearly 10 years, announced his decision Wednesday.

He is the college’s longest serving president.

“There is rarely a good time to step down, but CSN is in a strong position now,” Richards said in a statement. “The recession challenged all our efforts, but the college has emerged with a renewed commitment to student success, a new strategic plan, and prospects for new facilities on its three campuses. We’re well positioned to better serve students and our communities.”

Richards joined CSN in July 2005 as vice president for academic affairs. He was named interim president in 2007 and became the college’s permanent leader in May 2008.

Before that, he worked at Southern Utah University, where he served in executive positions for 23 years.

Andrea Anderson, chairwoman of the community college committee for the state Board of Regents, said Richards has been a “stabilizing force” for the college, shepherding it through the Great Recession.

“I think it was critical to have someone who was there in the good times, and in the recession, and to come back out of it,” Anderson said. “He’s brought a lot to the college. He’ll be really hard to replace.”

Most recently, Richards oversaw the planning for new student union buildings at the college’s three campuses and the adoption of a development agreement with the city of Las Vegas for a fourth campus in Centennial Hills.

Richards’ contract with the Nevada System of Higher Education was to end on June 30, 2019. He makes an annual salary of $278,000 under that contract.

“It has been my great honor to serve as president of CSN,” Richards said. “I have been fortunate to have a dedicated faculty and staff — a team of colleagues, dedicated to student success. They have been unwavering in their support throughout my term.”

Presidential vacancies are filled under the Board of Regents’ direction. CSN faculty, staff, students and community representatives are likely to be part of the search for a new president.

Anderson said it’s too soon to know the direction the board will take, however, she said the board will likely appoint a search committee as a first step.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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