After 10 years as the leader of Scottsdale Community College, Dr. Jan Gehler announces her retirement, effective Aug. 3, 2018. She sent the following message to the campus community:
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush
This quote from former First Lady Barbara Bush, who recently passed away, has always resonated with me, but more so lately, particularly after a recent trip to Germany to visit our son Drew, his wife Rosa and our three exceptional grandchildren.
Through our long flight home, during which I did some serious soul searching, I unplugged from my favorite tunes for a moment, turned to Bill, and said, “So this is how it is; we get to see them once a year?”
Realistically, we could go visit more often. But, while we can afford the plane fare, I can’t be away from the college and my role for long stretches. And, even when I’m physically away, I am on constant SCC alert — thinking, problem-solving, planning, etc. Educational administrative positions demand 24/7 energy and focus. It’s what is expected, and it is what I’ve gladly given for these past ten years to SCC and Maricopa.
It hasn’t been an easy decision, but, after pondering the ‘what ifs,’ consulting with and getting agreement from Bill and our children, I have decided it’s time to take the next step. Once the two SCC VP hires were completed last week, I tendered my notice of intent to retire to Chancellor Harper-Marinick, with August 3 as my last day of work for Maricopa.
Simply put, I have given my best to my work over many years and want to spend whatever emotional, intellectual and physical energy I have remaining on my family. Bill and I will return to Alaska, live in our home of 38 years, where we’ll be very close to two of our adult children. With this move, we’ll also be free to roam the country and the world to see our two other children and their families.
I will miss you all terribly. Our time at SCC and in the wonderful Scottsdale community has been excellent. We could not have asked for a warmer welcome, nor better experience, than we found here at Artie’s home. I hope you know that, throughout these past 10 years – during the ups, the downs, the good days and not-so-good days – I have always put the best interests of faculty and staff, students, the communities we serve and this wonderful institution as the most important factors in any decisions I have made, without question.
There is always much talk about the SCC ‘culture’ – an ethos of deep caring for our students and profound respect for one another. I believe firmly that if you all continue to care, as has been the tradition over these past 48-plus years, our culture will endure no matter who sits in the President’s chair. It always has.
The Chancellor will announce plans for an interim president in the near future, so stay tuned.
My heartfelt thanks goes to to each and every one of you for making my time as SCC’s leader so very special, and for your ongoing support of me and our student-first mission.
I remain forever grateful.