Currently an administrator at Lake Michigan College, Gabbard, plans to begin at MCC on Jan. 11, Board Chairman Mike Smith said.
"The board is eager to begin working with Dr. Gabbard," Smith said in a release from the college. "He brings a new perspective to the college, and a balance of experience in both teaching and administration. With his extensive knowledge in strategic planning, community-based initiatives, and collaborative partnerships, Dr. Gabbard will undoubtedly move the institution forward."
The approval of the contract serves as a culmination of a roughly five-month search, led by a Washington D.C.-based search firm that reached out to more than 7,000 contacts in higher education. The search also involved gathering a search committee made up of students, staff, faculty, administrators, trustees, and members of the Friends of MCC Foundation.
In Gabbard's most recent role as vice president of student services at Lake Michigan College, he provided the strategic vision and administrative leadership to a number of departments. He also designed and executed an student success program called "Start-to-Finish," among numerous other accomplishments, according to the release.
Outlined in his two-year contract, Gabbard will start at MCC with an annual salary of $215,000 and will receive inflationary increases, plus an additional 3 percent. Increases cannot be greater than 5.9 percent or less than 3 percent.
Before Lake Michigan College, Gabbard served as an administrator for Walla Walla Community College, director of counseling and psychological services at Purdue University, and a psychologist and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame.
"I am humbled and excited to accept this role at MCC," Gabbard stated in the release. "The college's value of community aligns with my deeply held belief that colleges are only as strong as their commitment to working together and to being an effective partner with the local community."
Gabbard earned his Ph.D. in counseling psychology, a masters in counseling psychology from University of Notre Dame, and a bachelors degree in psychology and religious studies from Evangel College.
President Vicky Smith, whose last day is Dec. 31, started in August 2010. Before approving the next president's contract, trustees conferred the presidential emeritus status on her.