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The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Caputo’s Presidency in Retrospect: Prioritizing Achievement and Student Success

COD President Brian Caputo reflects on the achievements and memories he made as COD President prior to his forthcoming departure.
COD Newsroom

As his presidency nears its conclusion in the coming months, Brian Caputo reflects on his work as President of COD in the past five and a half years, the experiences that defined his contributions, and the community that inspired his work.

According to the College of DuPage Newsroom, “College of DuPage President Brian W. Caputo announces his retirement following the conclusion of his current contract ending June 30, 2024. Caputo and the board will continue to work together for the good of the college through the end of June while planning for new leadership.”

The webpage makes mention of Caputo wishing to dedicate more time towards activities of faith after his departure.

We spoke with Caputo, who became COD president in 2019, to hear his thoughts on COD’s culture, his impact as president, and what stood out to him during his presidency in retrospect.

Per COD’s Office of the President webpage, “[Caputo] brings to the presidency more than 40 years of strategic management and leadership experience drawn from a broad range of senior-level positions in higher education, local government, and the military.”

Caputo affirmed that his extensive past experience in a wide range of leadership roles enhanced his understanding of the many backgrounds and circumstances COD attendees may be facing.

“It gave me a breadth of experience with a wide variety of different types of people that I think is a bit unique about my background,” he stated. “I’ve seen so many different life circumstances. And I think it enables me to have a deeper understanding of what all kinds of people might be facing in their lives to try to improve [their circumstances] and get where they want to be in life.”

When asked what he finds most memorable about College of DuPage in particular, Caputo said the inspiring stories and pursuits of students and staff stood out to him primarily.

“The interaction with the people is the thing I think I will remember the most,” he said. “Got a wonderful faculty, staff and student body. As I’ve had the chance to interact with it, whether it’s walking around or events or doing a little teaching, it’s just been eminently satisfying. And to hear some of their stories, how they got to the places that they are, where they’re hoping to go; that’s something I’ll always remember.” 

Caputo believes the culture and atmosphere of College of DuPage encourages perseverance and aims for success coincides with the memorable pursuits and backgrounds of students, staff, and faculty.

“It’s a very aspirational culture,” he said. “It’s all about trying to help people get to where they want to go in their next step in life. And that to me, that’s what attracted me to higher ed, in the first place. To me, it’s a very noble mission. Being around it and contributing to it makes a person feel really good.”

Caputo then reflected on his achievements, beginning with the concept of student success acting as the guiding pillar for College of DuPage’s major operations and functions.

“We really got student success on the map,” he affirmed. “That wasn’t really firmed up in the fabric of the institution [before]. So when you talk about the new mission statement that we’ve got and the strategic long-range plan that we’ve got has student success as the foremost pillar that’s guiding most institutional actions right now.”

Per COD’s Office of the President webpage, “Caputo has sought to advance student success at the College through focused implementation of its Guided Pathways Initiative. Guided Pathways is a framework designed to help students effectively choose, enter, and complete a program of study that aligns with their goals for employment and further education.”

Caputo also commended the College of DuPage’s astounding success in navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he led.

“I think we did very well getting through the pandemic,” he stated. “We had no job losses and no major outbreaks of the disease. It pivoted. We were able to deliver the instruction very well.”

He acknowledged the contributions and teamwork of the officers and administrators who collaborated with him all these years which aided in these achievements.

“No one does all of this alone,” he said. “I’ve had very talented cabinet officers and administrators and a very supportive group of trustees that have enabled all of this to happen.”

Christine M. Fenne, the board of trustees chairman, shared similar sentiments regarding Caputo’s impact on College of DuPage.

“(President) Caputo has positively impacted College of DuPage in countless ways,” she stated. “He will leave his legacy in our campus footprint through the redevelopment of the Student Services Center (SSC). We thank Caputo for his presidential leadership over these last five years and wish him nothing but the best for his future endeavors. The Board of Trustees is currently developing our presidential search plans and is committed to a thoughtful and transparent transition process. Regular updates will be provided to the college community regarding our progress for new leadership.”

When a replacement for the President position at COD is named, it will be the fourth president the College has had in the last ten years. The Board of Trustees plans to begin the new president search and hiring process in collaboration with faculty and administration. More information on future BOT meetings, which are open to the public, can be found on the COD website

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  • SteveJan 31, 2024 at 1:51 pm

    Prioritize student achievement, except when a student reaches out when faced with a medical condition that threatens said students success.