For Immediate Release - May 23, 2013

New President of Roxbury Community College Selected

Illinois Community College Leader to Assume RCC Leadership Post in July

Valerie Roberson President of Roxbury Community College
Secretary of Education Matt Malone (front row, third from left) joins the Department of Higher Education Board in welcoming Dr. Valerie Roberson (front row, fourth from left) as the new President of Roxbury Community College.

Boston,  May 23, 2013 – The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education today approved the Roxbury Community College (RCC) Board of Trustees’ selection of Valerie R. Roberson, Ph.D., as the new President of Roxbury Community College effective July 22. The Board’s vote for Dr. Roberson was unanimous.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Valerie to the Commonwealth to lead one of our most dynamic community colleges,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “The opportunity for RCC and the students who attend the college are numerous. I look forward to working with her as she begins this important work.”

Dr. Roberson has been a community college administrator for nearly three decades. She currently serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Joliet Junior College in Illinois, recognized as the nation’s first public community college.

“With this vote, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees created a tremendous opportunity to improve economic and academic outcomes for the greater Roxbury area,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “Dr. Roberson is a strong leader who has the skill and experience to push RCC to new heights.”

Dr. Roberson is the 15th President of Roxbury Community College, which first opened its doors to students in 1973 in the Grove Hall area of Roxbury. She succeeds Dr. Linda Edmunds Turner, who has served as interim President since the resignation of President Terrence Gomes in 2012.

“I couldn’t be more humbled and proud to have been given this great responsibility,” said Dr. Roberson. “We have a once in a generation opportunity to create a community college that will be recognized as a national leader. I look forward to beginning by listening and learning from the students, staff and community about their dreams and hopes for Roxbury Community College.”

Dr. Roberson comes to Massachusetts from Joliet Junior College, which has a student body of 15,600 and more than 100 degree and certificate programs. Under the leadership of Dr. Roberson, Joliet was named one of the top 100 associate degree producers in the U.S. (Community College Times, June, 2012)..Previously, Dr. Roberson served for five years as President of Olive-Harvey College of the City Colleges of Chicago. Olive-Harvey, located on the southeast side of Chicago, serves primarily African American and Latino students.

“After an extensive national search, we are delighted to have identified an outstanding individual who can take RCC forward,” said Charles F. Desmond, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. “We are very hopeful that Dr. Roberson will be able to reach out to the community, engage students, and build a broad consensus for RCC’s future.”

“Roxbury Community College is indeed fortunate to have found in Dr. Roberson a leader with broad experience in urban community colleges,” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “She has a very strong record of achievement in academic leadership, student support and adult education, as well as years of presidential experience. I am delighted to welcome Dr. Roberson to Massachusetts and look forward to working with her.”

“I am very pleased with the outstanding work of the Presidential Search Committee and unanimous vote of the RCC Board,” said current Chairman of the RCC Board of Trustees Kathy Taylor. “Dr. Roberson has a wealth of experience in dealing with urban turnaround colleges; I am particularly excited about her experience in workforce development, a key initiative of the Patrick administration.”

"I am honored to have an opportunity to work with Dr. Roberson, and applaud the Board at RCC for conducting such a thorough search process,” said incoming Chairman of the RCC Board of Trustees Gerald Chertavian. “Dr. Roberson has devoted her career to serving community college students and will bring a wealth of valuable experience to our College."

Last fall, just over 1700 full-time students were enrolled in Roxbury Community College’s 29 degree programs and 11 certificate programs at its Southwest Corridor campus. The College will celebrate its 40th anniversary in September 2013.

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