James Vander Hooven, Ed. D, has officially stepped into his role as the third president of Mount Wachusett Community College since the school was founded in 1963.
“MWCC has a long history serving as an integral part of the communities of North Central Massachusetts and responds to the region’s ever-evolving needs in order to best serve our students. We plan to build upon that history and create an equally bright and important future for this college at its Devens, Fitchburg, Gardner and Leominster locations,” said President Vander Hooven. “We have an opportunity not only to educate, but to be a conduit for the personal transformation and growth of our students and the ongoing growth of our communities.”
President Vander Hooven has been on campus since February, which allowed for a transition period with Dr. Daniel M. Asquino who announced his retirement last year and served as president at MWCC for over 30 years. President Vander Hooven used this transition time to meet with students, faculty, staff and community members and said he looks forward to continuing the process.
“I have met faculty who strive every day to impart knowledge and support students as well as staff who work tirelessly towards everyone’s success in so many ways. During this time, I have also been able to meet some of our students who persevere in ways both large and small to better themselves through education and personal growth,” said Vander Hooven.
President Vander Hooven has been committed to access and opportunity to higher education since first stepping into a nontraditional classroom, as an instructor, where he was the youngest person in the group. At that point, he began focusing his energy and time on increasing opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds.
As the president of Tohono O’odham Community College in Tucson, Arizona, President Vander Hooven successfully raised more than $9 million for the construction of the college’s new main campus. He has also served as Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia, New Hampshire, and Regional Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at National American University in Denver, Colorado.
President Vander Hooven attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The Ohio State University. He received his Master of Arts degree in American Studies from the University of Wyoming. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Maine, where he focused on student access. His dissertation was titled, “Lessons From Success: The Experience of Women Who Successfully Completed an Associate Degree While Parenting Children.”
He lives in Keene, New Hampshire.
With the mission of the committee fulfilled, the MWCC Board of Trustees voted to disband the Presidential Search Committee at their February 28, 2017 meeting.
The members of the Presidential Search Committee were:
- Mr. Richard A. Cella, Esquire – Chairperson, Search Committee Member/Vice Chair Board of Trustees Member, Foundation Board Community Member
- Ms. Tina Sbrega – Member/Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Community Member
- Ms. Cheryl Oliveri, Member/Secretary, Search Committee, Staff Assistant, Planning, Development and Institutional Research, MWCC
- Ms. Diane Ruksnaitis, Ex-Officio, Vice President, Human Resources & Payroll, Affirmative Action Officer, MWCC
- Mr. Chuck Bowles, Member, Foundation Board, Community Member
- Mr. Wayne Canty, Member, Foundation Board, Community Member
- Ms. Denise Clemons, Superintendent, Gardner Public School, Community Member
- Ms. Joana Dos Santos, Member, Board of Trustees, Community Member
- Mr. Elmer Eubanks-Archbold, Professor of Business, MWCC
- Ms. Suzanne Farias, Member, Board of Trustees, Community Member
- Ms. Patricia Marshall, Member, Board of Higher Education
- Mr. Ray Martino, Member/Chairman, Foundation Board, Community Member
- Mr. Dean Mazzarella, Mayor of Leominster, Community Member
- Ms. Carla Morrissey, Library Assistant III, MWCC
- Ms. Kelly Morrissey, Director of Financial Aid, MWCC
- Ms. Shaunti Phillips, Senior Community Outreach Counselor, MWCC
- Ms. Cathy Teague, Student, MWCC