By Kelly Kuzman
The Suffolk County Community College Board of Trustees has appointed Executive Vice President George Gatta to serve as interim President of the College as they search for a new president, following the resignation of former President Shirley Robinson Pippins. Gatta will officially assume the presidency on Feb. 20. He will be taking on goals of keeping the college successful through its 4.8 percent enrollment increase, which puts the college enrollment at approximately 23,000 students. “I hope to preserve the physical integrity of the college and the quality of education to the students,” Gatta says. Gatta , a graduate of the College, earned an A.A.S. in Business Administration before transferring to SUNY Albany, where he received a bachelor of science degree in business administration. Gatta began graduate studies in economics, but later his goals changed and he received a master’s degree in public administration from C.W. Post. Gatta is one of seven siblings, all of whom started their college education here at Suffolk. The Oakdale siblings have all become successful by obtaining careers as doctors, business administrators, even a golf pro, and of course, the president of the Suffolk County Community College. He even was taught by Prof. Steve Klipstein, who is still currently a member of the Ammerman English faculty. Gatta said he never thought he’d be apart of the college in the future when he attended SCCC; he didn’t even think he’d get into a career that had to do with higher education. “You never know where your education or career will take you,” he said. His job with the school is very rewarding he said. He has been working along side of former President Shirley Pippins for five and a half years and has been very involved in the college, which has made him a great person for the Board of Trustees to appoint to fill Pippin’s spot as she takes on a new career in Washington D.C. Gatta will lead the college as an interim president as the Board interviews people from all over the country to take on the permanent job as College President. Gatta acknowledges the fact that he could be president for only days, weeks, months, or maybe even a year. His goal is to keep the College running smoothly and successfully until the permanent president is finally selected. When asked what advice he has for students, Gatta said he encourages students to find a job or an internship in the career path that they choose to follow in the future, while they are in college. He understands that the students have many expenses that include paying for college, car insurance, and other things. “It is as challenging as it is rewarding,” Gatta says of his new position. He said he hopes to maintain the easy open access to the institution and obtain the college’s good reputation.