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New president approved

DATE: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christina Royal will begin work at HCC Jan. 9

Christina Royal with others after her appointment was approved by the Board of Higher Education. The state Board of Higher Education today unanimously approved Christina Royal as the next president of Holyoke Community College. 

Royal traveled to Boston this morning for her official interview with the Board of Higher Education.

The HCC Board of Trustees unanimously voted Nov. 3 to recommend Royal as the successor to William F. 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, PhD, 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 on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 for a series of interviews and meetings with a presidential search committee, trustees, staff, faculty and students.  She was one of three finalists.

Royal plans to start work at HCC on Monday, January 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, who traveled with Royal to Boston today. "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 and a master of arts in educational psychology and a bachelor of arts in math from Marist. 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 for 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.

President Messner retired in August after serving for 12 years. He succeeded David Bartley (1975-2003) and George Frost (1946-1975), the school's founding president.Since Messner's departure, William Fogarty, vice president of Administration and Finance, has been serving as interim president.

PHOTOS: (Top) Christina Royal, second from left, stands with Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC Board of Trustees (far left); Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago; and Chris Gabrieli, chair of the Board of Higher Education (far right) today in Boston. (Thumbnail) Christina Royal meets with HCC staff during a visit to campus Nov. 1.