Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan has been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve as a member of the Greenfield Community College Board of Trustees. Donelan’s five-year term will run until March 1, 2019. Donelan was elected Sheriff of Franklin County in November, 2010 and sworn into office in January, 2011. Prior to that, Donelan represented the 2nd Franklin District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for four terms starting in 2002. During two of his terms in the legislature, Donelan served on the House Committee on Higher Education. While on that Committee, he secured the funding for construction of the new library and dining facility at GCC and spearheaded the most comprehensive reform ever in college credit transfers among Massachusetts state colleges. Donelan is a life-long resident of Orange, MA and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Westfield State and a Master of Public Administration Degree from American International College in Springfield. Donelan fills a Trustee position left vacant by the end of Franklin County Register of Deeds Scott Cote’s term on the Board.
Both GCC President Bob Pura and GCC Board of Trustees Chair Rob Cohn expressed enthusiasm for Donelan’s appointment. Pura said, “From his earliest days growing up in Franklin County until now, Chris has committed himself in service to the people of our community. I look forward to working with Chris, now in his new role as a Trustee, in meeting the mandates of our mission.”
GCC Board Chair Rob Cohn said, “I am thrilled by this appointment. Chris has been a great leader as a State Representative and as Sheriff. He is proactive and personable and really knows what is going on in the county and the state. Chris’s record of strong service to Franklin County speaks for itself. He will be a great addition to our already very strong board.”
Commenting on his appointment, Donelan said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to be a temporary steward of one of the most important institutions in Franklin County. Hopes and dreams are realized at GCC every day, and I will put all of my experience to work for the benefit of the people who attend there.”
Sheriff Donelan began his career as a police officer. He spent a total of ten years in uniform working for two communities – Orange and South Hadley. He continued his career in public safety with a job working as a probation officer in Orange District Court. He helped establish the first Drug Court in Western Massachusetts. He spent four years working in the Trial Court before moving to the Community Corrections Center in Greenfield to take on the position of Probation Officer in Charge. During his time on Beacon Hill, Representative Donelan served on the Public Safety Committee, one session as the Vice Chair. He also served on the Ways and Means Committee, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, and Higher Education Committee.
Reflecting on Scott Cote’s time on the Board, GCC Board of Trustees Chair Rob Cohn said “Scott has been a sound voice on every issue he’s dealt with during his time on the Board, especially on matters of academic affairs. His legal background has been invaluable for our strong and diverse Board. He will be sorely missed.”
Pura concurred with Cohn’s comment, saying “Scott Cote has served GCC extremely well during the 12 years he was on the Board. His steady and grounded leadership on the Academic Committee was the foundation on which years of decisions regarding tenure, change in rank and emeritus status were made. Those are core decisions to the integrity of our academic programs and fundamental to our students’ experience. I have grown to appreciate, respect and like Scott as a lawyer, public servant and member of our Board.”
Ending twelve years on the GCC Board, Franklin County Register of Deeds Scott Cote said, “I am truly honored to have served the best community college in the country. The college is blessed to have such leadership and commitment with President Pura and fellow community leaders who are willing to serve. I have learned and experienced so much the past 12 years and remain committed to GCC as they gave me my start. Although I am sad to leave I know Christopher Donelan is the perfect person to replace me. His work ethic, vision and commitment to education matches mine so we are lucky to have him.”
By Mary McClintock, ’82