During her inaugural community breakfast April 18, College of DuPage President Ann Rondeau talked about COD’s “big picture,” which includes a new business incubator and accelerator in the Glen Ellyn Civic Center.
“It will be a true hub for business innovation and entrepreneurship,” Rondeau said in addressing nearly 200 area leaders and other constituents. Rondeau started in July 2016 as the college’s first female president.
The space is set to open in December. It will contain two separate new business functions, including COD’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation DuPage, a new business incubator and accelerator concept led by the college through an emerging partnership with Choose DuPage and Naperville-based Rev3.
Joe Cassidy, dean of continuing education at COD, said the center is needed in today’s changing world.
“Our increasingly complex world needs more entrepreneurs,” he said. “Community colleges enroll over 40 percent of the students in the U.S. and have a significant role to play in economic development.”
Rondeau proudly noted that COD “has one of the lowest dependencies on state funds of any higher education public institutions in the state.”
“Our normal outlay, what is authorized, is about 33 percent,” Rondeau said. “Last year, we got 6 percent, and yet, we were able to have good financial stability and numbers. We are financially very healthy. We have continued to increase our reserves, despite the state funding shortfalls.”
Citing a need to keep better pace with inflation, the majority of COD trustees at their March 15 meeting approved a $1 tuition increase to take effect for the fall 2018 semester. Tuition and fees will be $136 per credit hour for in-district residents. The $1 increase is the Board of Trustees’ first increase since 2014.
Despite the increase, Rondeau said COD’s tuition is still below the mean among community colleges in the state.
“And that’s a really good thing for the kind of quality that we give to our students,” she said.
In addition to Innovation DuPage, Rondeau told the crowd other initiatives could be forthcoming, including a state-of-the-art center at COD dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math.
“We have the room, and we are in conversations about that,” Rondeau said. “We have energy on this campus to do more, but we need to do it in service to you.”