Following an executive session today of the Board of Trustees of Greenfield Community College, the members have unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Richard R. Hopper as Interim President of the College. Dr. Hopper, the former President of Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, Maine, is replacing current President Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernández, who in late June announced her intention to resign after three years. Dr. Hopper will begin the leadership position at GCC on August 16th.
Board Chair Robert Cohn said just prior to the public vote, “We’re thrilled and proud to bring forth a candidate that the Board feels very comfortable with. We’ve been fortunate to work with Dr. Carlos Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education, and others during this search and are feeling really optimistic and confident about the transition period.”
Dr. Hopper brings strong experience with rural community college administration, having served as President of KVCC for nearly nine years. Prior to that he was known for his 15 years in various senior positions as an education specialist at the World Bank and as a Fulbright scholar. He also currently sits on the Commission on Economic and Workforce Development for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in Washington, DC, which aligns with GCC’s mission statement and will help inform the implementation of its strategic plan. The Commission’s members examine ways to close the American skills gaps by sharply focusing education on preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for existing and future jobs in regional and global economies; showcase cutting-edge innovation with proven outcomes that improve student success; and offer affordable, high quality technical assistance in areas that support student success.
“I am very excited to begin my new role with Greenfield Community College,” Dr. Hopper said. “I have tremendous respect for GCC and all it has accomplished and I look forward to continuing the good work.” Hopper also noted that he loves the Pioneer Valley, where he has family and has been a frequent visitor, and GCC’s nearly 60-year history as an institution bringing hope and positive change to the community reinforces his decision to accept the position.
Following the vote, Board member Isaac Mass thanked Dr. Salmon-Fernández for her years of service to the College and expressed confidence that Dr. Hopper would support and sustain important initiatives currently underway at GCC, particularly in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. Board member Chris Donelan noted that an official presidential search will begin shortly.
Cohn emphasized the importance of bringing an interim on board by the middle of August for a smooth transition from the presidency of Dr. Salomon-Fernández and in order “to meet students, faculty and staff at the start of GCC’s first in-person semester since the start of the pandemic.” Noting the challenges which the Board faced in identifying a successor to Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernádez in such a short time frame, he reiterated of Dr. Hopper’s appointment, “We’re thrilled. We are absolutely thrilled.”