President, Tidewater Community College, Norfolk
TCC president since 2020, Marcia Conston strives to be both a role model and a mentor.
“I wanted to be an administrator where I could make the most difference in the lives of people,” she says, and that has been her unwavering focus throughout her 30-year career in education.
As a Black woman, Conston is acutely aware of the value of social equity, which calls for fairness and justice in social policies for all people, regardless of race, gender or economic status. She holds multiple degrees from Jackson State University, Hood Theological Seminary and The University of Southern Mississippi, and is an active Alpha Kappa Alpha sister.
Before arriving in Norfolk, Conston spent two decades at North Carolina’s Central Piedmont Community College, where she fostered a culture that supported student success. At Tidewater, she has been furthering that mission by instituting programs to help students with food insecurity, partnering with Cox Communications Inc. to provide subsidized internet access for students and launching a center to connect students with community resources. That was particularly important during the pandemic, which hit just two months into her taking the helm at TCC, the state’s second-largest community college, with nearly 17,000 students.
Interacting with those students is by far Conston’s favorite part of being president. “I take as much time as I can, as often as I can,” she says, because that is a fundamental part of being “a servant leader,” a job description that requires both humility and self-confidence. Getting that combination right, Conston says, can bring powerful results.