Finalists Named for Presidency of Saint Paul College

Posted: February 11, 2021

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 11, 2021 – Minnesota State has named four finalists in the search for the next president of Saint Paul College. The candidates are Sunem Beaton-Garcia, Felicia Ganther, Deidra Peaslee, and Tia Robinson-Cooper.

The candidates were recommended by a search advisory committee that was comprised of students, faculty, staff, and community leaders, and was chaired by Adenuga Atewologun, president of Riverland Community College. The candidates are scheduled for a virtual campus visit between Feb. 17 and Feb. 18. The virtual campus visits provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to meet each of the candidates and offer feedback. Details of the candidates’ virtual campus visits and the process for providing feedback are available at



Sunem Beaton-Garcia currently serves Broward College (FL) as president, North Campus and vice provost of academic services and interim president, South Campus, and vice provost of academic resources. Since 2009 she has served Broward College in several capacities, including the interim president, Central Campus and vice provost of teaching excellence and learning; dean of libraries and Academic Success Centers; associate dean, public services; senior instructional designer; and tenured faculty. She continues to adjunct for Broward College’s Education Pathway and served on the faculty of Saint Thomas University (FL) from 2008 to 2009. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix, a master’s from the University of South Florida, and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University (FL). She will conduct a virtual campus visit on Feb. 17.



Felicia Ganther

Felicia Ganther has served the Maricopa County Community College District as associate vice chancellor and chief student affairs officer since 2012. Previously, she served the College of Lake County (IL) as the executive director of student life from 2006 to 2012; and director of the Office of Student Activities from 2000 to 2006. She has served as an adjunct faculty for Northern Arizona University, Weber State University (UT), College of Lake County (IL), and at Maricopa. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from Norfolk State University, a juris doctor from the University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School, and a doctorate from Arizona State University. She will conduct a virtual campus visit on Feb. 17.




Deidra Peaslee has served as interim president of Saint Paul College since 2019. Previously, she served Anoka-Ramsey Community College as vice president of academic and student affairs from 2011 to 2019 and as Dean of Educational Services from 2002 to 2011; and DePaul University from 1997 to 2002 as assistant dean and director, and director of the international MBA. She served on the faculty of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota since 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University, a master’s from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a doctorate from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She will conduct a virtual campus visit on Feb. 18. 



Tia Robinson Cooper.jpg

Tia Robinson-Cooper has served Inver Hills Community College since 2018 as provost and vice president of academic affairs. Previously, she served East Central College (MO) from 2016 to 2018 as vice president for academic affairs; Olive Harvey College as dean of instruction from 2013 to 2015; Northwestern College (IL) as dean of academic affairs from 2008 to 2013; and American InterContinental University (IL) as Dean of Instruction from 2004 to 2006. She holds an associate’s degree from Kishwaukee College (IL), a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, two masters’ degrees from National Louis University, and a doctorate from Northern Illinois University. She will conduct a virtual campus visit on Feb. 18.



The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is expected to consider Chancellor Devinder Malhotra’s recommendation at its March 17, 2021 meeting. The anticipated start date of the new president is July 1, 2021.


Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 340,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.