Laurie Chesley, the new president of Central Oregon Community College, will earn $220,000 a year, according to her contract, which was approved Tuesday by the college’s board of directors.

Chesley, 55, who currently serves as the provost and a vice president at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, will earn nearly $18,400 more than current COCC President Shirley Metcalf, who will leave her post on June 30. Chesley will receive $65,000 more a year than her salary in Grand Rapids.

If Chesley receives positive evaluations from the board, her salary will be increased each year, starting in July 2020.

COCC is giving Chesley $10,000 for relocation costs from Michigan. The college also will provide her with $2,400 annually for technology expenses, including an iPad and smartphone, and $8,400 for car-related expenses.

The COCC board chose Chesley from among three final presidential candidates on Feb. 22, with board members stating her strong interest in the college as well as administrative and teaching experience in both community colleges and at a four-year university as factors that helped her stand out.

Chesley spent 18 years as a higher-education administrator at Ferris State University in Michigan, Northwestern Michigan Community College, Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania and Grand Rapids Community College, where she became vice president in 2015.

When she visited Central Oregon in February to talk with COCC staff, administrators, students and the public, Chesley said during her time as president, she would emphasize strong connections with Oregon State University-Cascades and other four-year universities, expand online courses and foster a college-going culture in Central Oregon that would encourage more residents to take higher-education courses.

She told The Bulletin on Tuesday that she was “eager to start working with the wonderful people I met at the college and in the community.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7854,