STEUBENVILLE - Eastern Gateway Community College will welcome back Edward Florak, the college's second president, to speak to the graduating class during its 45th commencement.
The ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. on May 17 under the tents on the Jefferson County Campus.
Florak served as the second president of Jefferson Technical College and then Jefferson Community College from June 1985 until December 1998.
Following his retirement, the board of trustees bestowed the title of president emeritus on Florak.
In July 1971, Florak began his career at what was then known as Jefferson County Technical Institute as executive assistant to the president for student affairs. In 1972, he was promoted to vice president and dean of student affairs. Between 1972 and 1985, his jobs included vice president of administrative services, vice president and dean of instruction. He also served as a professor of general students and an instructor for business/industrial training and community education classes.
On June 1, 1985, Florak assumed the presidency of the technical college.
The college experienced growth under Florak's leadership, and his accomplishments as a leader of the community college resulted in several institutional achievements. Florak:
- Changed and expanded the mission from a technical to community college by expanding the degree offerings from the applied business and applied science to include the associate of arts and associate of science. The move expanded the curriculum and educational opportunities for residents of the Jefferson County area;
- Changed the college calendar from quarters to semesters, making college programming more compatible with the vast majority of higher education institutions in the country;
- Participated in guidance of three levy renewal campaigns to secure local funding to support lower tuition for Jefferson County residents, to provide funds for building maintenance and to provide a local match for state-supported capital improvement projects including the computer wing, second student lounge, health wing additions and a courtyard on the Jefferson County Campus;
- Lobbied the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio General Assembly to secure funding for capital projects including the computer wing, second student lounge, health wing additions and a courtyard on the Jefferson County Campus;
- Led the movement for the college to initiate and conduct work force training and re-training along with adult continuing education;
- Supported the college in assisting community groups using college facilities because of its convenient location, parking and building security;
- Increased the number of articulation agreements with four-year institutions;
- Established the Horizon Grant, a financial aid program to provide assistance to Jefferson County high school graduates; and,
- Introduced Tech Prep programs as another educational opportunity.
Florak is a charter trustee of the Jefferson Community College Foundation Inc., now Eastern Gateway Community College Foundation Inc. He serves as treasurer.
During his long tenure in higher education and throughout his life in Jefferson County, Florak led many state organizations and local groups, and served on other boards and as a member of government and civic organizations.
Florak is a licensed psychologist under the Ohio Board of Psychology. He graduated from North Allegheny Junior/Senior High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Villanova University, and his master's degree and his doctorate in counselor education from the University of Pittsburgh.
A resident of Steubenville, Florak and his late wife, Barbara, raised three sons, Michael of Steubenville, Mark of Atlanta and Tim of Columbus. He has three grandchildren.