Keith Curry, CEO of the Compton Community College District and president of Compton College, was recently named recipient of the 2018 Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award. It is the most prestigious award given by the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA), and was presented to Curry at the ACCCA Conference in Santa Rosa, Calif., on February 22.
The Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award, first presented in 1986, is named after the late Harry Buttimer, who was a founding member of the ACCCA. Known as the highest honor a community college administrator can receive from one’s peers, the award pays tribute to those administrators who demonstrate integrity, principle, compassion, strength in leadership, and who have made significant contributions to the college district and community. Nominees must be a chief executive of one of the 72 California community college districts or 114 community colleges.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award and be included among the impressive list of community college leaders, who are Harry Buttimer Award recipients,” said Curry. “I share this award with all of the Compton College administrators, faculty, and staff who have worked so hard during the last ten years to make this college the institution it is today.”
Curry became president of Compton College in June 2017, when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) granted initial accreditation status to Compton College. He was appointed permanent CEO of the Compton Community College District in July 2013, after serving as the interim CEO for the District since March 2011. He previously served as the El Camino College Compton Center dean of student services, beginning in 2006.
Under Curry’s leadership, many existing student support programs at Compton College have expanded and others were created, including the First Year Experience (FYE) program, Honors Transfer Program, Cosmetology program, Transfer Pathways partnerships, Compton College Promise, and the award-winning Formerly Incarcerated Student Transition Program. Other positive outcomes in recent years include increased number of degrees and certificates awarded; increased student enrollment and transfers; new full-time faculty members hired; the passing of the Measure C facilities bond in 2014 by a 78.3 yes vote; new state-funded construction projects completed; and a balanced budget with a reserve.
“On behalf of the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees, I would like to congratulate Dr. Curry on receiving this honor,” said Nicole J. Jones, president of the Board of Trustees for the Compton Community College District. “Dr. Curry has been an influential leader through times of change, overseeing efforts for us to achieve significant milestones at the District. We look forward to our continued work with him as we set long-term goals and develop an institutional culture at Compton College that helps deliver academic excellence for our students and the community.”
Curry earned his doctorate in education from the University of California, Irvine, and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“Every student is a success story!” is Curry’s ever-present mantra on campus. “I want to give people hope,” he says. “You can be from Compton and be a success. Every student can be successful with the right academic and support services. I want students to feel special and at home here at Compton College.”