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Hickox named Walla Walla Community College president

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By Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Walla Walla Community College’s acting president makes a permanent move to the position.

Chad Hickox has been named to the college’s top administrative position.

“On behalf of the entire board, I want to share that in this rapidly changing environment, Dr. Hickox has proven he is a trusted leader who is well-qualified and ready to lead through these unprecedented times,” said Tim Burt, community college board of trustees chair in an announcement to staff and faculty Wednesday.

His move to Walla Walla Community College in 2018 as vice president of instruction is part of a 24-year career in higher education.

He was appointed executive vice president-provost at the school in July 2019. In March he was named acting president following the resignation of the late Derek Brandes who left the position to pursue treatment for cancer. He died April 10.

Unanimous approval from the board of trustees comes as the community college faces critical financial decisions. The COVID-19 pandemic has socked state sales tax revenue that helps fund public education.

That’s led to an estimated $3.2 million in new spending reductions. Any layoff notices as part of that plan must be determined by the end of this month in order to meet contract requirements and enable student scheduling of classes.

The new president said today in an email to the Union-Bulletin that WWCC has a number of initiatives around marketing and recruiting, and is in various stages of development of new programs intended to increase enrollment.

“There are a lot of exciting things happening even in the midst of the challenges we are facing,” Hickox said.

In his new role, Hickox will earn $201,630 annually, backdated to March 10 when he became acting president, officials said.

The appointment was made without a more extensive search for a new president. That process with a contracted search agency could have cost up to $100,000, board members were told in April.

In his announcement Wednesday, Burt said input from faculty, staff, students and members of the communities served by the community college supported the selection of Hickox and the immediate appointment over a “lengthy, costly search process.”

Sheila Hagar can be reached at or 509-526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers health, social services and city government in Milton-Freewater, Athena and Weston in the Walla Walla Valley.