The York College community will mark a number of firsts on July 1.

In Pamela Gunter-Smith it will have its first new president in more than 21 years.

She's the first female president.

The first minority president, as well.

But don't expect big changes when Gunter-Smith takes over from George Waldner, who has been at the helm since 1991.

She'll be focusing on preserving and expanding a hard-earned reputation York College has built for itself over the years -- that of an institution offering a top-shelf education at a bargain price.

We believe that's as it should be.

Under Waldner, York College has undergone an impressive physical expansion -- new academic buildings, a theater, a sports and fitness facility and additional dormitories have transformed the campus.

It's a gem, for sure, but one still mostly recognized regionally.

Gunter-Smith said she wants York College to be known on a national level, echoing the sentiments of the selecting committee that chose her last month.

How exactly she intends to do that remains to be seen, but one of her state goals will go a long way toward that end.

As college tuition costs across the country continue to soar, Gunter-Smith said she wants to continue to keep York College's costs relatively low. Tuition next school year is $17,010 -- not cheap by any means, but still better than comparable private colleges.

If Gunter-Smith is successful at boosting the school's reputation, the value of a York College degree should rise and open more doors for graduates as they pursue careers.


Successful graduates are what it's all about, and Gunter-Smith -- who has a doctorate from Emory University and a background in biology and medicine -- seems to understand that.

"We exist for students," she said.

The incoming president has pledged to be involved with students and campus life, such as attending games and events, possibly even teaching a class.

The college's search committee knew exactly the type of president it was looking for, and it seems to have found it in Gunter-Smith.

"We believe that Dr. Gunter-Smith has the background and capability, leadership and passion to project York College more broadly -- nationally and beyond -- and to continue to improve our reputation and recognition," committee chairman George Glatfelter said. "Among her clearly recognized strengths are a deep commitment to students, direct experience in the classroom, and an understanding that high-quality education must remain affordable."

We wish her the best of luck.

But first ... welcome to York.