New College of DuPage board chair Hamilton hopes to cut tuition, restore confidence
Kathy Hamilton, newly elected College of DuPage Board of Trustees chairwoman, said by the end of her first year in office as chair she hopes to reduce tuition and restore the public’s confidence in the college.
Hamilton, a licensed CPA and Hinsdale resident, said at the board’s next meeting members hope to roll out a plan to put a transition team in place, charged with searching for a new president.
Former COD President Robert Breuder took medical leave one day before the board placed him on unpaid administrative leave amid allegations of money mismanagement at the college.
Hamilton’s focus is on recapturing the public’s confidence. Part of that process, she said, is putting into place a transparent system that demands responsible spending and accountability.
“Most of all, we want to provide world class education to our community,” she said.
In order to avoid repeating mistakes, Hamilton said the board is putting into place a policy that limits the power of the college president.
At COD, the president reports directly to the board, something Hamilton said did not occur under Breuder’s watch. “I think some board members forgot who elected them.”
As chairwoman, Hamilton has three goals: to effectively deliver world-class education to the community, identify issues for improvement and transform lives. “Because that’s what college does, it transforms your life,” she said.
It’s no secret Hamilton and the former board had clashes over policy and spending, but with a new board in place, she said it’s time to put differences aside and get to work.
“We all have to work together to bring a new day to the College of DuPage. I’ve had talks with dissenting board members. We’re reconciling our differences,” she said. “We’ve been through a difficult period, we’re restoring our board, we’re establishing bonds between each other, we all recognize we have to put aside our history and our differences for the betterment of the college. There’s a lot at stake here.”
Looking ahead, Hamilton hopes by the beginning of the fall semester the board will have new policies in place and set the groundwork for restoring public confidence.
She also hopes to lower tuition. Hamilton said tuition has risen about 18 times in 20 years, although a tuition freeze was put into place two years ago.
“My fondest goal is to cut tuition. Current tuition is $140 per credit hour and that is the highest in the state.”