HOLYOKE — The state Board of Higher Education unanimously approved Christina Royal as the next president of Holyoke Community College.
Royal traveled to Boston on Nov. 29 for her official interview with the Board of Higher Education. The HCC board of trustees voted unanimously on Nov. 3 to recommend Royal as the successor to William Messner.
“Holyoke Community College has made an excellent choice in Christina Royal,” said Carlos Santiago, commissioner of Higher Education. “Her demonstrated record of success and commitment to high-quality education make her the perfect candidate for this role, and we look forward to having her at HCC.”
Royal, is now the provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. She visited the HCC campus at the start of November for a series of interviews and meetings with a presidential search committee, trustees, staff, faculty, and students. She was one of three finalists who visited the HCC campus earlier this semester.
Royal plans to start work at HCC on Monday, Jan. 9, when she will become the fourth president in the 70-year history of HCC and the first woman to hold the position.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC board of trustees. “I think you’ll see a lot of interesting thoughts and ideas coming from Christina. I know we picked the right person for the coming years to continue the mission of HCC.”
Royal holds a PhD in education from Capella University, as well as a master’s degree in educational psychology and a bachelor’s degree in math from Marist College.
She joined Inver Hills Community College in 2013. Prior to that, she served as associate vice president for E-learning and Innovation at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and director of Technology-assisted Learning for the School of Graduate and Continuing Education at Marist College. She has also worked as the director of Curriculum for the Beacon Institute of Learning and was the manager of Research and Development at CompUSA.
Messner retired in August after serving for 12 years. He succeeded David Bartley (1975-2003) and George Frost (1946-75), the school’s founding president. Since Messner’s departure, William Fogarty, vice president of Administration and Finance, has been serving as interim president.