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Gov. Patrick appoints Cohn as chair of GCC board of trustees

GREENFIELD — Robbie Cohn, a Greenfield Community College alum and three-year board of trustees member, was chosen eight months ago by his peers to chair the board.

But now he has the state’s approval as well.

Gov. Deval Patrick appointed Cohn last week to lead the college’s board of trustees — a necessary step after changes to state law in July put more control and authority in the governor’s hands.

“Our community colleges are at the center of our efforts to close the skills gap and help people get back to work in Massachusetts,” said Patrick in a state-issued release. “I want to thank Mr. Cohn for his willingness to serve in this capacity and am confident that he will be a continued partner in our collective efforts to better serve our students and employers, building a stronger Commonwealth for generations to come.”

Cohn was one of six current chairs to be appointed by Patrick. Nine other community colleges received new chairs, although all of them were existing board members, state officials said.

The decision to shift the chair appointment power from that college’s board members to the governor was part of an overall effort by the state to integrate Massachusetts’ community college system.

The governor can select anyone he or she wants, although that person must live in the geographic region of the college.

GCC President Robert Pura said he was pleased Patrick understood and appreciated the work Cohn has done for the college.

“Rob Cohn understands our students because he was one. He understands the business of our community because he runs one,” said Pura. “He understands the many needs of our community because of his level of civic engagement.

Cohn, president of Cohn & Company Real Estate Agency of Greenfield, said that out of all the things he is involved with in Greenfield, GCC is his favorite.

“I am thrilled to be reappointed by the governor as chair of the GCC board of trustees,” Cohn was quoted as saying in the release. “GCC is a truly great institution, an economic force in our community, one that works for the betterment of all of us.”

The appointment has no defined length of time, state officials said. Since board members are allowed to serve for 10 years, Cohn could theoretically serve as chair until 2019, as long as he and the governor agree

When Cohn gives up the chair, the current governor then makes another appointment.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
cshores@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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