Carroll Community College President Faye Pappalardo will retire in June 2014 after 15 years as the school's president.
She informed the college's Board of Trustees of her retirement Thursday night.
"Absolutely, it was not an easy decision," Pappalardo said Friday. "Anyone who knows me knows that it (Carroll Community College) has been my passion."
Pappalardo, the second president of the college, was appointed to the position in 1999 after serving as the college's executive vice president of academic and student affairs, continuing education, and planning. She first joined the staff at Carroll in 1988 as the dean of students.
Pappalardo said she has been considering retirement off and on for about a year or two, but thought it might be time for someone else to take the leadership role at the college with her contract expiring.
"It's time to give someone else this wonderful opportunity," she said.
James Ball, vice president for academic and student affairs, said there is a "great deal of surprise" around Pappalardo's announcement, but added that she has been the perfect president for Carroll as it established itself as an independent community college.
"I can't say enough about her leadership and vision for the college," Ball said.
Pappalardo was instrumental in helping Carroll become an independent college in 1993 with then-president Joseph Shields. She was the author of the prospectus documents for both candidacy status and independence.
Carroll was previously a branch campus of Catonsville Community College.
Pappalardo said gaining status as an independent college is one of her proudest moments, but is quick to say she is very proud of her faculty and staff at the college.
"This faculty and staff would be the envy of any college president," she said.
Another major accomplishment of Pappalardo's was the implementation of the college's nursing program, which graduated its first class of licensed practical nurses (LPN) in 2002 and its first class of registered nurses (RN) in 2005.
The number of nursing graduates has increased each year since the program's inception.
Throughout Pappalardo's tenure at Carroll, the college has experienced significant growth in programs and facilities.
Enrollment has grown from 2,636 students in 1993 to 4,103 in fall 2012 and the number of full-time employees has grown from 94 in 1993 to 271 in 2013, according to a college news release.
The college has also grown from offering 10 programs in its early years to more than 40 credit transfer and career programs today.
The campus has evolved under Pappalardo's watch with five new buildings opening. These include the theater building, the business training center, the P building which houses the fitness center and classrooms, the nursing and allied health building, and the K building, home to the cafeteria, classrooms and staff offices.
Ball said Pappalardo's commitment to expanding the college's programs and facilities, including advocating for funding of new buildings is one of her most notable accomplishments.
"It's been her hallmark," he said.
Board of Trustees president David Bollinger said in a statement that the board, students, and staff all recognize the outstanding service of Pappalardo within the field of higher education.
"I commend Faye for her work on behalf of the thousands of students whom she has encouraged to pursue their academic and professional goals. We will certainly miss her and wish her all of the best in retirement," he said.
A native of Philadelphia, Pappalardo has been active in the community during her time at the college.
She currently serves on the Carroll County Economic Development Commission and is chair of the Carroll County Scouting Advisory Committee. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors of Carroll Hospice.