CCC’s Amann era ends

Bob Recotta
Corning Community College President Floyd “Bud” Amann is retiring after 10 years at the college.

Neither his supporters nor his critics can say outgoing Corning Community College President Floyd “Bud” Amann was passive during his tenure as president.

The decade that was the Amann era may go down as the most active in the 50-year history of CCC.

“People will call me a visionary,” Amann said. “I’ve never thought of myself as a visionary, but I am always looking on to what’s the next project or what’s the next windmill at which we can tilt. That’s a good thing, to be looking forward, to make sure what we’re doing today builds a stronger future for the institution.”

Amann’s vision became clear almost from the get-go. On the job than a year, he cast his eye to the east and began dreaming of a branch campus in Elmira.

While the dream of a branch campus wasn’t realized, in 2008 the college opened its Academic and Workforce Development Center in Elmira.

Amann cites the Elmira satellite location as one of the most significant accomplishments of his time at CCC.

Current CCC trustee and former administrator Jack Kelley said the vision of a campus in Elmira might have died after city officials rejected a full-blown branch campus.

Amann, however, refused to give up on establishing a presence in Elmira.

“The debate was whether to have a branch campus or satellite campus that would just offer some courses but not full programs,” Kelley said. “It’s Bud’s dream that’s going to somehow turn into a branch campus where somebody can complete their whole program there.”

Though his tenure at CCC has come to an end, Amann’s dream of creating a branch campus in Elmira still lives on.

“I think the completion and the opening of (the Academic and Workforce Development Center) lends itself to a huge expansion down the road so the Elmira campus becomes a full-fledged branch campus where people can get more courses and complete their degree and get the services necessary,” Amann said. “That’s something I hand off to our next president (Katherine Douglas) in the hopes she can make that happen.”

Another project Amann will have to pass on to his replacement is a $100 million facilities upgrade.

While Amann was able to cut the ribbon on the college’s new wellness center, plans for a field house and upgrades to the library and Commons building will have to move forward without him.

“I think at any point in time Bud Amann is going to have things yet to be finished,” Amann said. “Board Chair Tom Blumer and I decided this two years ago and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now that the actual leaving of the college is upon me, I feel a little nostalgic and I’m really going to be rooting for our next president to get these projects completed. I think the timing is right. I’ve been here 10 years and I think more time is just going to create more projects.”

Amann’s visionary spirit wasn’t always popular. His fight to create a branch campus in Elmira put him at odds with city and county officials. He’s also gone to the mat with county legislators in Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler counties as he tried to get them to increase the amount of financial support the counties gave the college.

The most recent fight Amann picked involves student housing for CCC.

Spencer Hill residents aren’t happy with the college’s plan to investigate dorms on the college’s main campus.

“I think any leader is going to be faced with challenges, and most of those challenges are in the personnel area, meaning that leaders aren’t always popular with everyone,” Amann said.

Kelley said Amann has the ability to work with those with whom he disagrees.

“Bud’s not afraid of debates,” Kelley said. “He encourages them. He jumps right in with both feet. You don’t have to guess where he stands on issues, but he’s open to arguments on both sides and he’s willing to modify his stance. That’s the sign of a good manager.”

Even though the Wellness Center and the Academic and Workforce Center will stand for years as visible legacies of the Bud Amann era, Amann said some of the things he’s most proud of are intangible.

“I think we spent a great deal of time and effort reconnecting the college to the importance of community,” Amann said. “That manifests itself in a number of ways. Our people who work here are now more active in community affairs than ever before. We’ve had more events that have drawn community people to the college. I think that inner connection is a very important thing that I will leave behind.”

Kelley said it’s not only the connection with the community but his connection with his students that sets Amann apart.

“He went out of his way to talk with the students,” Kelley said. “Sometimes at colleges, the president is pretty distant from the consumer. Not Bud Amann. He was right with them. They called him by name. They’d be in his office, talking about issues. He made time for him. That’s a real asset for a community college president to be able to listen. He’s made a lasting mark. The Amann years are going to last a long time in the history of the college.”

Corning Community College President Floyd “Bud” Amann and his secretary Mary Lee Welch clean out his office at the college.