Dr. Amy Kremenek, the newest president of TC3. Credit: Casey Martin / Ithaca Voice

DRYDEN, N.Y.—Dr. Amy Kremenek recently stepped into her new role as Tompkins Cortland Community College’s fifth president June 1, bringing nearly 20 years of experience in higher education and goals for enrollment retention and community engagement with her. 

Kremenek was appointed by the State University of New York Board of Trustees in early May. Prior to her role at TC3, Kremenek served as the vice president of enrollment, development, and communications at Onondaga Community College (OCC) in Syracuse for seven years. The previous four years, she was vice president of human resources and external relations at Onondaga. 

Kremenek has succeeded Dr. Orinthia Montague, who served as the college’s president for four years before leaving to become the president of Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee in August 2021. 

Throughout her career in higher education, Kremenek said she has been inspired by the impact community colleges have on their surrounding areas and communities. As a long-time neighbor of TC3, Kremenek was drawn to TC3’s reputation and history of innovation, entrepreneurship and involvement in the surrounding community. 

“As a community college leader, I also know how important […] a strong community college is to the community in which it resides,” Kremenek said. “I’ve seen that in Onondaga County, how OCC has played such an important role in that community, and I know for certain that’s the role that TC3 is playing and will continue to play in Tompkins and Cortland County.”

From her past work at OCC, Kremenek brings plenty of experience related to enrollment, which she said is a large focus of hers at TC3. Enrollment for colleges across the country, particularly the Northeast and New York, has been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19. 

According to a spring 2022 report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, “community colleges continued to suffer the most, with 351,000 fewer students or a drop of 7.8%. This decline represents more than half of the total postsecondary enrollment losses this term and amounts to a total loss of more than 827,000 community college students since spring 2020.”

In regards to enrollment and retention, Kremenek said a strength of the college is its flexibility and the number of new programs it is offering, including six new microcredentials — short-term, credit-bearing workforce education programs. 

On top of enrollment, Kremenek said she wants to focus on strengthening and further developing relationships with organizations and leaders in the Tompkins County community. 

“There are so many fantastic organizations and companies and leaders in this community that really believe deeply in the role of community college and how community colleges can help the people in our counties to be successful,” Kremenek said. 

Kremenek said she plans to engage with the campus community by hosting a series of small group discussions to learn about the progress TC3 has made, as well as the struggles the institution has had, in order to gather ideas for the future of the college. 

“I think over the past couple of years, there’s just been so much challenge in front of all of us and that this will really give me an opportunity to learn more from the campus about their ideas of how we might approach the future,” Kremenek said.