Southeast Arkansas College trustees voted unanimously Thursday to hire Steven Bloomberg as the next president of the college.

Bloomberg is currently the executive vice president at Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma, where he was previously the vice president for community development. He will succeed Southeast Arkansas College President Stephen Hilterbran, who will retire Dec. 31. Bloomberg and Bennett signed the contract at the Thursday meeting.

“I will lead with honor and I will lead with integrity,” Bloomberg said. “Most importantly, the future of this campus is not up to me. It is up to everyone in this room. To the faculty and staff who are here today, I want to reiterate some things that I said during the public forum.”

“We are going to have a food pantry on campus,” Bloomberg said. “It’s hard to learn when you’re hungry. It’s really hard to learn when you do not know if you are going to eat anytime soon, so we are going to work on that. We are going to work on cutting the pathway to completion down so that we can get students in, get them the education they need and get them out. My pledge to you all is that I will work alongside you.”

“To the students of Southeast Arkansas College, I am your strongest advocate and I am your biggest supporter. I am going to be here to help guide you every step of the way because as the board of trustees, as the president, as the faculty and staff, our job is to serve you. I am honored and I am humbled. I do want to thank my mentor, Dr. Ray McHugh, who passed away in 1996. He was the one who twenty-some-years ago, I promised that I would be a president.”

After the announcement, Bloomberg shook hands with trustees Paul Bennett, Rob Cheatwood, Marc Oudin, Dee Holcomb, Albert Lowery Jr., Ken Johnson and Rebecca Pittillo and college employees.

While he did not know any Pine Bluff residents before he applied for this job, Bloomberg said that his wife and he have already made friends in Pine Bluff and would be meeting them for dinner.

Bloomberg is currently finishing his doctorate degree in higher education leadership from the American College of Education in Indiana. He earned a master’s in education from West Texas A&M University in Texas and a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of LaVerne in California.

The trustees welcomed Bloomberg to the campus.

“We are excited about the experience, vision and leadership that Mr. Bloomberg brings to Southeast Arkansas College,” Bennett said in a written statement. “Throughout this entire process, Mr. Bloomberg has impressed the board not only with his knowledge, but also with his genuine interest and care for the students that the college serves. We know our community will welcome Mr. Bloomberg with open arms, and we are excited for everyone to get to know him as we are confident that you will be just as impressed with him as we have been.”

The college began a search in the summer for Hilterbran’s successor by contracting with the Association of Community College Trustees to build a profile to attract candidates. Fifty-eight people applied to be the college’s next president.

Bennett thanked the presidential search advisory committee “for their dedication and hard work on behalf of SEARK. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the members of the college community for your participation at the recent public forums.”