Dr. Steven Kurtz, president of Mineral Area College in Park Hills, announced his impending retirement as of June 30, at the conclusion of the board of trustees meeting Thursday afternoon.
Standing beside Kurtz, Board President Alan Wells said, “I announce with great sadness Dr. Kurtz has submitted his intentions of retirement as of June 30, 2019. I’m speaking for the entire board because we have all had such a great working relationship — it’s been a privilege and an honor to have had Dr. Kurtz as the president of our college. We hate to accept that letter of retirement notice.”
In response, Kurtz said, “It’s been my privilege to serve you all. It felt right. I’ve been thinking about this actually for quite a while. When it feels right, it’s the right thing to do. I appreciate the support of the board — this is not a farewell speech — I just want to let you know, thank you for your support over the years, especially with my family. We think highly of all of you. Now we’re going to move on to the next chapter of our lives we’re going to do things that eventually you would have figured out anyway.”
Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Kurtz graduated from a private high school after which he attended Pima Community College for two years and ran cross-country. Kurtz then transferred to the University of Arizona where he finished up his undergraduate degree in two years.
After earning his master's and doctorate degrees, Kurtz came to MAC in 2001, filling the vacancy left by retiring dean of arts and sciences, Dr. Jim Bullis. Then, following the retirement of Dr. Terry Barnes, Kurtz became interim president of the community college in 2006 and was named MAC president in February 2007.
Earlier in the meeting, Kurtz announced that due to the resignation of trustee President Jerry Sullivan last month, the board’s officers had been changed. They are Wells, president; Scott Sikes, vice president; and Harvey Faircloth, secretary.
Stuart “Mit” Landrum Jr., former mayor of Farmington and current president of a self-owned software development company for Medicare/Medicaid providers, was appointed to the Mineral Area College Board of Trustees. He fills the vacancy left by Jerry Sullivan, who recently moved out of the area in retirement. In April, Landrum will have an opportunity to run for the six-year term for Subdistrict 3 of MAC’s taxing district.
Landrum is probably most widely known as the former mayor of Farmington. He served from 2009-2017, and among many initiatives, he oversaw the construction of a new firehouse, new library, and the new city maintenance facility. He was an integral part of the efforts that brought Menards, Schnucks, Rural King and Panera to the city, and passed three tax measures that paved streets, operated the city’s extensive park system and updated the police station and civic center.
He has been a board member of First State Community Bank since 1981, and was president of the Farmington Industrial Development Authority from 1981-2004 (which he founded). As president of the Chamber of Commerce, he led the chamber to acquire Farmington’s first viable industrial park. He has also been a member on the board of LIFE CIL, Inc., Community Hospital Foundation and Presbyterian Children’s Services.
Landrum’s father, Stewart Landrum Sr., also served on the board in the 1960s and ‘70s, and his wife, Chris, retired from Mineral Area College several years ago.
Also during the meeting, a report from Dean of Student Services Jean Merrill-Doss made it clear the school’s enrollment is still far below normal despite attempts by the school in recent months to boost student registrations.
“I think we’re finally around probably 2,650 students and close to 29,000 or so, credit hours,” she said. “Today I had Connie do some deeper checking for us. We’re down about 820 students, or 22 percent in headcount; and about 11,574 in credit hours, or 26 percent. This may sound a little more confusing, but the numbers are sort of skewed due to the fact that the numbers last year included high school tech enrollment in both headcount and credit hours.
“So, if you take those numbers out, the folks that were enrolled last year that were in that number, we’re only down 281 students, or 9 percent in headcount; and 3,822 credit hours, or 11 percent. So that sounds a little bit better. This is again comparing to same day last year and we have most of the dual credit enrollment in at this time and at registration we just got a few stragglers and we’ll get them in by next Tuesday.”