Former UF COE Alum, Dr. Adelbert (Bert) J. Purga, dies

Dr. Bert Purga passed away on Thursday, August 9, 2012 at Cape Canaveral Hospital at the age of 62.  The Merritt Island resident was provost of the Palm Bay campus from 1994 until 2007.  During his tenure, the campus underwent numerous expansion projects.

The New York native started his career as a teacher at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, NY.  He later earned his doctorate degree in education from the University of Florida in 1979.  Dr. Purga was recognized by the University of Florida as an Institute of Higher Education Outstanding Graduate.   He also served as dean and president in the Eastern Iowa Community College system.

His surviving immediate family includes: his wife, Margaret, and his son, Jonathan.  Funeral service will be held at 11:00 am, Tuesday, August 14th at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Merritt Island, to celebrate his life.

Higher Ed Alum is VP of Academic Affairs at Arizona College

Dr. Russ Rothamer (MED ’93, Social Studies Ed.; EDS ’97, Curriculum & Instruction; PHD ’03, Higher Ed. Admin) has been hired as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Coconino Community College based in Flagstaff, Arizona.

According to an article in the Flagstaff Business News, “Rothamer will help plan and execute institutional initiatives and policies.  He will assist in developing long-term organizational goals and plans, managing human and fiscal resources, establishing liaison relations with community organizations, and evaluating the performance of the college’s operations.”


Says Rothamer, “Throughout my professional career, I have maintained a passion for helping students meet their learning goals by establishing initiatives that enhance the value of the educational process.”

Rothamer has dedicated more than 25 years to higher education as an administrator and professor.  Prior to this appointment, Rothamer most recently served as Dean of Business, Community Services and International Programs at Northcentral Technical College based in Wausau, WI.  From 1999 to 2006, Rothamer held education leadership positions at Walt Disney World Resorts.  He was the Disney University Segment Learning and Development Manager, College Educational Partnerships Manager and Team Lead of the College and International Learning Programs. Rothamer has also held a number of positions with UF including Director of Student Services, Associate Director of Student Services, University School Instructor and Interim Director of Admission and Student Services, according to the article.

To read the full story on Dr. Russ Rothamer in the Flagstaff Business News, please follow this link.