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The College Community Mourns the Passing of Former President Dr. Jerry Parker
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • November 21, 2018)—Dr. Jerry Parker, former president of Delaware County Community College, died early Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 71 years of age.
Dr. Parker served at the College for 40 years, including 14 years as president. He also was a 41-year resident of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, where he and his wife Susan raised their two children, Jessica and Zachary.
“Jerry was a compassionate, community-minded, visionary who devoted most of his life to educating and training students,” said College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black. “Delaware and Chester Counties benefited significantly from his knowledge and passion for higher education. He will be sorely missed by his peers, colleagues and friends.”
Dr. Parker started at the College in 1977 as assistant to the vice president for administration. Over the years, he also served as executive assistant to the president for planning, research and external relations; dean of management systems, planning and enrollment management; and vice president for community and corporate education.
Prior to his retirement from the College last year, Dr. Parker received many awards for his extensive involvement in and commitment to Delaware and Chester Counties. In October 2017, the College renamed the Advanced Technology Center at the Marple Campus after him, in recognition of his essential role in bringing the state-of-the-art facility, which houses the College’s skilled trades and manufacturing training programs, to fruition. In March 2017, the Chester County Economic Development Council inducted Dr. Parker into the Chester County Business Hall of Fame for his exemplary leadership and vision in forging lasting relationships between the College and business and industry in Chester County. Five of the College’s eight locations are in Chester County.
In 2016, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), a national community college advocacy organization, named Dr. Parker CEO of the Year for ACCT’s Northeast Region. That same year, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce presented Dr. Parker with its “President’s Award.”
Dr. Parker’s many external activities and memberships provided him with a broad perspective on the social, governmental and environmental factors affecting community colleges, higher education and the Greater Philadelphia region. He served and was a former board chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. He also was chair of the Chester Higher Education Council; a member of the Crozer Keystone Health System Advisory Board; chair of the Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development; chair of the Chester County Economic Development Council; a member of the Workforce Investment Boards of both Chester and Delaware Counties; a founding member of the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester & Delaware Counties; and a member of the Delaware County Industrial Development Corporation. He also was chair of the Riverfront Alliance Board, and sat on the Delaware County Chief School Administrators Board, the Delaware County Suburban Study Council, and the Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc.
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Dr. Parker earned a Master of Science in Adult Education from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It was in Milwaukee that he met Susan, his wife of 45 years. The couple moved to Delaware County in 1977, when Dr. Parker accepted a position at Delaware County Community College.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 1 at 11 a.m. at Christ’s Community Church, 337 Riverview Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19026 (corner of Riverview Avenue and Garrett Road), where friends may call starting at 10:30 a.m. Gifts in memory of Dr. Jerry Parker may be made online to the Delaware County Community College Educational Foundation in support of student scholarships at www.dccc.edu/makeagift, or by contacting Rachael Hunsinger Patten, vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive director of the College’s Educational Foundation, at 610-359-5132, or at [email protected].