As a resident of Sarasota, I was privileged to attend one of the community forums of the presidential search committee of the then Manatee Community College and to hear candidate Dr. Lars A. Hafner present. I was immediately impressed by his vision and his energy to move the college forward.
What Dr. Hafner has accomplished in the past three years has been just short of miraculous and such a contribution not only benefits the Manatee and Sarasota counties communities, but also the state of Florida. He has fully grasped the community college mission and has provided the leadership for the new State College of Florida to produce high quality associate and bachelor’s degree graduates who are workforce ready. Many of these students are our communities’ previously out-of-work residents or first-generation college students.
He has propelled the college forward with six bachelor’s degree programs, including a much-needed bachelor of science in nursing program and new programs in energy-technology management and specialized law enforcement. Despite budget cuts, through his frugal management and leadership he has increased enrollment and has retained a strong faculty.
While his pay is only average among public college presidents in Florida, his performance has been exceptional. It is hard for this tax-paying citizen to understand why the SCF Board of Trustees would quibble about the terms of his contract when instead they should be doing everything in their power to support Dr. Hafner and his innovative leadership to ensure that this area does not lose a true treasure.
Beverly J. Blair