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Second Harford Community College president finalist stresses lifelong learning, fundraising

Greg Feulner, a candidate for Harford Community College president, emphasized his commitments to lifelong learning, fundraising and increased diversity on campus during a public meet and greet Tuesday afternoon.

Greg Feulner, a candidate for Harford Community College president, emphasized his commitments to lifelong learning, fundraising and increased diversity on campus during a public meet and greet Tuesday afternoon.

Although he has spent much of his professional life in the business world, rather than academia, Feulner sees himself as a lifelong learner who believes continuing education should be a major mission for a community college.

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"I believe in lifelong learning and continuing education for all," Feulner, one of four finalists to replace retiring HCC President Dennis Golladay, said during a community forum Tuesday evening attended by 25 people at the Chesapeake Center on HCC's main campus near Bel Air.

Tuesday's forum was the second this week, one for each of the four candidates to meet the HCC community and talk about their backgrounds and goals and to answer questions.

Forums with the next two candidates, Dianna G. Phillips and Bradley J. Ebersole, will be Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Chesapeake Center's Dining Room South. The first forum, with Ted Lewis, a vice president for academic affairs at a Tennessee community college, was Monday.

Feulner has a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Delaware and a doctorate in biochemistry from Penn State University. He as a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He is the only one of the four candidates who hasn't held an academic or administrative position at an institution of higher learning.

He told the audience he has worked as a patent attorney and as a corporate contract negotiator for pharmaceutical firms.

"Here I am today, standing in front of you as a candidate for the president of Harford Community College, and I've done my work researching and studying what it takes to be a president of a community college," Feulner said.

Paul Majewski, a member of the HCC Foundation board, noted Feulner would be "the face of the college" as president, and he asked how Feulner would raise money to support the college and the HCC Foundation, which raises money to support college programs and student scholarships.

Feulner acknowledged that he is an outsider in the community college world, but he emphasized his relationships with officials at Hopkins and with community organizations and businesses in Harford County, as well as his skills as a negotiator.

He said his contacts in the Baltimore and Washington region would help keep HCC's profile high among potential supporters of the college, the business community and state and county elected officials.

"I need to talk to [Harford County Executive] Barry Glassman all of the time," he said.

Feulner, a Churchville resident, is an attorney for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The husband and father of two children has lived in Harford County for more than 15 years. His wife, Dr. Lisa Feulner, is an ophthalmologist and CEO of Advanced Eye Care in Bel Air South.

His wife is a member of the board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County, and his son is in a local Boy Scout troop, Feulner said. The family supports those organizations, Harford Center for the Arts and Harford County Public Library by attending fundraising events.

Greg Feulner, left, a finalist for Harford Community College president, talks with Craig Ward, board president for the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, talks to Greg Feulner, left, following a forum Tuesday to give the public an opportunity to meet Feulner and ask him questions.
Greg Feulner, left, a finalist for Harford Community College president, talks with Craig Ward, board president for the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, talks to Greg Feulner, left, following a forum Tuesday to give the public an opportunity to meet Feulner and ask him questions. (DAVID ANDERSON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

Feulner said grant writing should be a priority for HCC staff and the college should engage the business community for financial support, which could then be matched by state grants.

"There no reason we can't establish some sort of fundraising for Harford Community College," he said.

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Charles Ramsay, chairman of the HCC Alumni and Friends Association, asked Feulner how he would reach out to college alumni and "get their input, their knowledge, their finances..."

Feulner noted he spent about an hour talking to HCC students before Tuesday's forum. He suggested having alumni visit campus and interact with current students, which would help student retention.

"If you have alumni who have made it through Harford Community College and have great jobs, then they're perfect examples," he said.

Feulner said students can ask alumni about "where they started and where they ended up, because those are the most amazing stories."

Students and faculty members are "a major asset of a community college," he continued, because they help market the school through word of mouth.

Feulner said many students told him they did not know how important an asset HCC is for Harford County.

One student told him he initially felt "lesser" by attending a community college, rather than a four-year college or university Feulner said. But the that view of community college changed after the student said he received a quality education at HCC. The same student suggested marketing the college as a place for "being smart" and for giving students the ability to transfer easily to a four-year school, he added.

"You're getting a great education for a low amount of money, and you can get a four-year degree," Feulner said.

Feulner said the college should emphasize workforce education in the fields currently offered at HCC, from plumbing and electrical work to business and nursing. He also suggested replicating at HCC the P-TECH model developed by IBM and state and local officials in New York to train high school and college students for jobs at IBM or other companies.

Pam Klahr, president of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, noted companies that support Aberdeen Proving Ground are struggling to find prospective employees locally with the necessary education and professional backgrounds.

"Education is a very important component to keeping APG strong," Klahr said.

Feulner also talked at length increasing diversity among the student body and faculty, whether it be ethnic background, where a student or faculty member comes from or their individual life experiences.

He stressed to Zilpha Smith, president of the Harford County chapter of the NAACP, that he would work with community groups to promote diversity on campus and invited her to support that mission as well.

"If you could help Harford Community College increase diversity and play a part here at this college, that would be wonderful," he told Smith.

The HCC Board of Trustees will select the next president. Golladay, who has led HCC since 2010, is due to retire July 1.

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