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New president 'thrilled' to remain in WNY

As the new president of Trocaire College, Bassam Deeb can further his commitment to higher education while staying in Western New York, the place he calls home.

"I'm thrilled that I'm able to move up professionally and still be able to stay in the community," said Deeb, whose family moved to Buffalo in 1976 from Beirut.

Trocaire College on Tuesday named Deeb as the new president, effective July 9.

Deeb has served as vice president for student services at Niagara County Community College for the past eight years. The search committee saw Deeb as someone who can combine his passion for education and his experience at other institutions to lead the university forward and take it to the next level, said Sharon Hanson, chairwoman of the search committee.

"We were determined to find not only the best-qualified candidate but also the candidate with the best vision for Trocaire," Hanson said.

After his family moved to the United States, Deeb lived in North Buffalo and attended Hutchinson-Central Technical High School. His interest in working in higher education began as a student at the University at Buffalo, where he served as a peer adviser and received his bachelor of arts and a master of education degrees. He obtained his doctorate in higher education from Kent State University.

"I really enjoy the field and the culture that a college setting brings, both in its mission to support students but also the camaraderie and the collegiality that is in the environment," he said.

Deeb served as vice president for student affairs at West Liberty State College in West Virginia and director of advisement and retention at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He was eager to return to Western New York, where his mother and several family members live, and accepted the job at NCCC in 2004. He lives with his wife and two children in East Amherst.

Under the leadership of retiring president Paul B. Hurley, enrollment at Trocaire more than doubled, to 1,500 students. The university is looking to continue increasing enrollment, providing better programming and integrating new technology into learning. The committee felt Deeb was the best candidate to do that, Hanson said.

Deeb applied for the position in February and was one of three candidates who visited campus in April. The candidates had an opportunity to meet and engage with faculty, administrators and students. Deeb received "very high marks across the board," Hanson said.

On his vision for the college, Deeb said he'd like to spend the first few months of his presidency bringing in feedback and assessing the college's needs before setting specific goals. He decided to accept the position because he feels the skills brings to the table match with what Trocaire needs.

"I look at it as a fit for both the institution," he said, "and for me."

email: kronayne@buffnews.com