Hire is important one for CCA

Published 8:39 pm Monday, June 27, 2016

In many ways it’s been a trying year for Concordia College Alabama, and now a big decision is looming for the college’s leadership.  The school’s president, the Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mendedo, announced in April that he would resign June 30, meaning his six-year tenure at the school will end in just a few days.

Concordia has yet to announce whom its new president will be, but whoever fills Mendedo’s role will be taking over a college going through a myriad of changes.

Concordia educates hundreds of students each year and serves an important role in our community.  Just last month, the school partnered with the Selma Housing Authority for a sports day for children in Selma and Dallas County. Concordia’s alumni association held a weekend-long reunion this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which serves as a reminder that there are a lot of people invested in the college’s future. The college also continues to add new programs, including a partnership with Tuskegee University that allowed Concordia to add a degree in nursing.

As we’ve stated, there is much to celebrate about Concordia College Alabama, but much to be concerned about, too.

We wrote last week about the $629,322.53 worth of liens the Alabama Department of Revenue has filed against the school. The school’s chief financial officer, Dexter Jackson, said the liens are tied to Aramark, a third party service that supplies the school’s meal plans.

If that’s the case — and Jackson was confident that it was — then hopefully the lien issue will be resolved quickly. The college also announced cutbacks that included layoffs of several employees, although Concordia hasn’t announced who or how many people did lose their jobs, resigned, retired or completed their contracts.

The school ended its football program at the end of 2015, just weeks after miscommunication between Mendedo and former athletic director Don Jefferson resulted in mass confusion over whether Concordia was ending all of its athletic programs. It was announced initially that the college was, only for that to be reversed.

It wouldn’t be fair to blame all of the college’s shortcomings on Mendedo, who has helped move Concordia forward in many ways. Concordia has added several new degrees during his tenure and he also helped the college receive 10-year accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College. We’re sure his leadership and experience will be missed, but this seems to be the perfect time for him to step away, something he echoed in his resignation announcement.

Hiring a new president is an opportunity to move forward and to change the current momentum of the college. The first thing visitors see on the Concordia website is a slogan that reads — “change a future … yours.”

The hiring of a new president is a chance for Concordia to do just that, except with its own future.