A look at the new leaders in higher education
- March 1, 2019
Change is afoot at Virginia’s colleges and universities. Several institutions have new leaders. Katherine A. Rowe became the first female president at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg last summer. She previously served as provost at Smith College. Rowe succeeded W. Taylor Reveley III, who retired in July after more than a decade as president.
Meanwhile, James E. Ryan succeeded U.Va.’s first female president, Teresa Sullivan, who was at the helm of the Charlottesville university for almost eight years. Ryan previously served as professor and dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Mass. Ryan’s back in familiar territory. He graduated from U.Va.’s law school and served on the faculty for 15 years. During his time there he served as associate academic dean.
In Northern Virginia, Irma Becerra became the new president of Marymount University, a private institution in Arlington County. She succeeds Matthew D. Shank, who led the university for seven years. Becerra most recently served as provost and chief academic officer at St. Thomas University in Miami-Dade County, Fla.
Some community colleges are under the leadership of interim presidents while they search for their next leaders. Northern Virginia Community College, a school with six campuses and nearly 51,000 students, announced the departure of President Scott Ralls. He’s taking the same position at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, N.C. Melvyn D. Schiavelli has been appointed interim president of the college, effective March 15, until a replacement is found.
Betty Jo Foster has been named interim president of Danville Community College after the retirement of Bruce Scism. Foster has served in several leadership positions, including as the college’s academic vice president until she retired in 2004.
Charlie White is now interim president at Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon. The school’s former president, Gene Couch, was reassigned after a critical report from employees about the school’s leadership, according to news outlets. Norfolk-based Tidewater Community College saw the retirement of Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. Gregory T. DeCinque has been appointed interim president.
In other community college news, Paula Pando took the top job at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond. She was senior vice president for student and educational services at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, N.J.