New president named for JCCC

Joseph Sopcich
Joseph Sopcich

Johnson County Community College trustees on Thursday named Joseph M. Sopcich the school’s fifth president.

Sopcich, who now serves as JCCC’s executive vice president of administrative services, was one of three finalists. The others were Richard Shrubb, president of the Worthington campus of the Minnesota West Community and Technical College, and Edward “Ted” Raspiller, who earlier this week was named president of John Tyler Community College in Richmond, Va.

Sopcich, 58, who takes office this summer, will replace President Terry Calaway, who has led JCCC since June 2007. Calaway resigned to spend more time with his family.

Trustees hired Sopcich to a three-year contract with a total compensation package of $317,900 a year. His base salary will be $240,000.

The announcement was received Thursday night with applause from the board and the audience.

“We did a nationwide search. Our desire was to find the best candidate. Joe will be an outstanding president,” said Trustee Jon Stewart.

Other trustees also made it clear that they did their due diligence, searching the nation for a candidate.

“There was no rubber stamp here,” said board chairman Melody Rayl. “Dr. Sopcich went through far greater scrutiny than any other applicant, and at the end of the day, he was sitting on top.”

Sopcich took note of the respect that the college receives from the community.

“To be in the president’s role at this institution is a great honor. It’s a privilege,” he said. “I promise you I will do my best.”

In his current post, Sopcich adopted a new approach to the college’s $140 million budget that shaved $6.2 million from expenses; turned around a declining Performance Arts Series through increased sales and by trimming expenses; and launched a capital campaign for a $12 million culinary academy being constructed on the Overland Park campus.

He came to JCCC in 1992 and also has served as the school’s executive director of institutional advancement and vice president for institutional advancement and government affairs.

Sopcich earned a doctorate in governance with a minor in political science at the University of Kansas. He has a master’s in business administration and a bachelor’s of arts in American studies from Notre Dame.