Edythe Abdullah, president of Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey, has announced that she is leaving her post on April 1. President Abdullah, the first woman president of the college, stated that she is leaving to pursue a new professional opportunity.
Essex County College enrolls about 12,500 students in two-year degree programs. Over 70 percent of the student body is Black or Hispanic.
President Abdullah, who holds a juris doctorate from the University of Florida, was hired in June 2010. Previously, she was president of the downtown campus of Florida State College in Jacksonville. In her less than three-year tenure, she often clashed with faculty members over the direction of the two-year college. In 2011 the faculty, by a count of 101 to 6, issued a vote of no confidence in her leadership. But President Abdullah retained the support of the trustees and was successful in gaining reaccreditation for the college. Earlier this month the college’s reaccreditation was approved through 2018.
Gale Gibson, the senior vice president of academic affairs will serve as interim president. She has been at Essex County College for only one year. Previously, she was the founding dean of the College of Freshman Studies and professor in the department of student affairs and services at Medgar Ever College in Brooklyn, part of the City University of New York system.
Dr. Gibson hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York system. She earned an educational doctorate at North Carolina State University.