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Chattanooga State Community College President Flora Tydings speaks during in a signing ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, at the UTC campus in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Dr. Flora Tydings, president of Chattanooga State Community College, is one of three finalists recommended by a search committee for a position as the next chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The two other finalists are Dr. Shaun McKay, president of Suffolk County Community College in New York, and Dr. Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, according to a news release.

The finalists were chosen from among 41 applicants over three months by the 16-person search committee. The full Tennessee Board of Regents will select the new chancellor at a special meeting likely to be called in December.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who led the search committee, also is the chairman of the Board of Regents.

"The next chancellor will lead the Board of Regents system through full implementation of the FOCUS Act, which sharpens the system's focus on the Drive to 55 — equipping 55 percent of working-age Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate by 2025," Haslam said.

"Given the importance of the chancellor's role, we are pleased with the quality of the finalists our committee has selected."

Speaking about the possibility that Tydings could be the next chancellor, Nancy Patterson, vice president of marketing and communication at Chattanooga State, said she would be a good fit.

"Dr. Tydings is great for Chattanooga State and she would be great for our state as well," she said. "She's all about student success, and in a relatively short period of time she's really made a difference on our campus."

The board hopes to have a new chancellor in office in early 2017 to replace the acting chancellor, David Gregory, who is retiring after nearly 19 years of service at the Board of Regents.

Gregory was appointed to that position on Feb. 1 after the retirement of chancellor John Morgan.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at egienapp@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731. Follow on Twitter @emmettgienapp.

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