By ANDREW PAXTON
Voters have decided that Mark Hanna will be the newest member of Pima Community College’s governing board after a tightly contested election on Nov. 4.
Fewer than 1,500 votes separated Hanna and his competitor, Tucson Medical Center executive Michael Duran.
Hanna received 25,988 votes to Duran’s 24,566, according to the Pima County Elections Office. Voters also cast 269 ballots for write-in candidates.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to help restore Pima to the respected and effective educational institution that has served our community for over 45 years,” Hanna said in an emailed statement. “I am really excited about being part of the ‘new and improved’ Pima Community College that makes dreams come true for any and all students who seek to improve their lives through education.”
Hanna said he met with a few thousand constituents going door-to-door during his campaign.
“Over and over again, I heard stories of how Pima has positively impacted the lives of so many folks in our community,” he said.
“I also heard wonderful things about the Pima staff and faculty helping students be successful. I am proud to join this team.”
College officials said both candidates should be thanked for their desire to improve Pima.
“I am confident Mark will be a great addition to our board,” said Chancellor Lee Lambert in a message to employees. “As a Pima graduate who has served on our Foundation Board since 2012, he knows the college well. He also has experience working directly with students and overseeing a large business operation,” he said.
Hanna is a former manager at Costco and recently retired after seven years as a college and career readiness counselor at Catalina high Magnet School.
During public forums last month, Hanna said his experience in both fields made him the best candidate for the position.
He said his first goal will be to assess where the college is at and where it’s headed.
Hanna believes the college is on track to having probation removed.
“Yes, there are a number of challenges ahead for our college, most notably the correction of the issues raised by the HLC, but I firmly believe we are on our way to building a stronger, more accessible and affordable student centered educational institution,” he said.
“As a board member I will insist on respect, fairness and integrity in all matters affecting our staff, faculty, students and the college in general.”
Hanna will be replacing Brenda Even, who has served on PCC’s board since 2001. She did not seek re-election for another term.
PCC board members are elected to their unpaid positions for a term of six years. The District 1 seat held by Even was the only seat decided this election cycle.
Hanna will be officially sworn in during the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 14.