Mark Vest named NPC's 8th President

A six-month national search concluded with the unanimous selection of Mark Vest, Northland Pioneer College’s current Vice President for Learning and Student Services, as the college’s eighth president.

Mark Vest
Mark Vest stresses the need to keep moving the college forward during a presidential candidate forum.

A room filled with NPC employees burst into applause after Frank Lucero, chair of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board, announced the board's selection of Vest during the panel's regular monthly meeting March 20 in Holbrook. Lucero expressed the board's appreciation to the search committee, college employees and all of those involved in the search process.

Acknowledging the outpouring of support of his co-workers and within the communities served by the college, Vest pledged to continue moving the institution forward, with the support of the board and college employees.

“President (Dr. Jeanne) Swarthout has made an enormous impact on the college as a dean, as a vice president and as president,” Vest said. “I hope that all of us can continue to work together to move this institution forward and I'll need all of your help in doing that. We have a lot of work ahead of us. I thank the board for its support.”

Dr. Swarthout is retiring in June after serving as NPC's president since 2007.

Since his appointment as Dean of Students at NPC in 2003, Vest took on ever-increasing responsibilities within the college. He was promoted to Vice President for Student Services in 2005, served as interim president in 2007 and then became responsible for all instruction, as well as student services, at the college in 2008.

Under his leadership NPC has strengthened partnerships with area high schools, increased the number of students receiving degrees and certificates, and integrated strategic planning into all aspects of college operations.

Vest has a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Kentucky, where he was the university's Rhodes Scholar nominee, Truman Scholarship nominee, and a Gaines Humanities Fellow. He holds a master's degree in American History from the University of Kentucky, a master's degree in Higher Education Leadership and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University, and additional graduate work from Ohio State in diplomatic and military history. Mark and his wife Susan moved to Pinetop in 2000 after Susan accepted a physician appointment with the Indian Health Service in Whiteriver. They chose to make Navajo County their home and have raised two daughters in Pinetop, both of whom attend the Blue Ridge Unified School District.


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