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Utah Valley Community College's new president pledged Wednesday to be an involved administrator with an eye on campus life and an ear open to the needs of students, faculty and community members.

"I'm ready to get back to what education is all about," said Kerry D. Romesburg, and that includes working with and meeting the needs of all those associated with the college.Romesburg, executive director of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, was named UVCC president Wednesday at ceremonies in the college's ballroom. "I'm eager to get here, but I have a lot of responsibilities in Alaska," said the new president, who will take over the college helm in July.

Romesburg said his desire to deal with students, educators and community members on a personal level prompted him to seek the UVCC presidency. He said he plans to work with students and faculty so he can closely monitor campus needs.

"I'm not going to be holed up in my office. That's just not the way I work," he said. "I like to involve everyone in my decisions. I'm going to be very much involved in seeking input before any kind of decisions are made."

Prior to introducing Romesburg, state Board of Regents Chairman W. Eugene Hansen recognized acting President Lucille Stoddard for directing the college since J. Marvin Higbee's controversial resignation last fall. Those packed into the student ballroom gave Stoddard a standing ovation.

"We sincerely appreciate the fine service she's rendered here and continues to render," Hansen said. Stoddard will resume her duties as academic vice president after Romesburg assumes the presidency.

Hansen and Wm. Rolfe Kerr, Utah commissioner of higher education, praised Romesburg and his credentials.

Kerr, who has worked with Romesburg on both the regional and national levels, said Romesburg and his wife, Judy, offer UVCC a new vision for the future. He said Romesburg's national perspective will help UVCC address future challenges.

"We know he will be an important part of the destiny of this institution," added Hansen.

Romesburg, 43, thanked regents and search committee members "for giving me this fantastic opportunity to work for this community college. We're really pleased to be here."

He said one of his biggest challenges as president will be to create an atmosphere in which the community, students and faculty and staff can be partners in directing and delivering UVCC's services. Another challenge, he said, will be striking a balance between meeting students' general-education needs and preserving the college's primary mission of providing vocational-technical training.

Born in Ohio and raised in Arizona, Romesburg earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Arizona State University. He has taught on the university level and said he hopes to teach at UVCC.

Romesburg headed Alaska's higher education system for 12 years and has directed budget requests and analyses, curriculum development and facility expansion. In addition, he has administered Alaska's $434 million student loan portfolio as well as federally funded programs.