GCC names interim president

  • Richard R. Hopper

  • Richard R. Hopper

Staff Writer
Published: 7/13/2021 8:52:34 AM

GREENFIELD — In the wake of President Yves Salomon-Fernández’s resignation, the Greenfield Community College board of trustees has appointed Richard R. Hopper as interim president.

Salomon-Fernández announced in June that she plans to resign from the position she has held for the past three years, effective Aug. 15, having accepted a position as senior vice president at Southern New Hampshire University. Hopper, the former president of Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, Maine, will assume the interim leadership position at GCC starting Aug. 16.

“I am very excited to begin my new role with Greenfield Community College,” Hopper said in a statement. “I have tremendous respect for GCC and all it has accomplished, and I look forward to continuing the good work.”

Hopper said he loves the Pioneer Valley, where he has family and has been a frequent visitor. He also said GCC’s nearly 60-year history as an institution that brings hope and positive change to the community reinforces his decision to accept the position.

GCC board of trustees Chair Robert Cohn said that, just before the vote to appoint Hopper, members were “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,” Cohn said in a statement announcing the hiring.

He also emphasized the importance of bringing an interim leader on board by mid-August to ensure a smooth transition from the presidency of Salomon-Fernández, and to allow Hopper “to meet students, faculty and staff at the start of GCC’s first in-person semester since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Hopper brings experience with rural community college administration, having served as president of Kennebec Valley Community College for nearly nine years. Before that, he held various senior positions as an education specialist at the World Bank and was a Fulbright scholar.

Hopper currently sits on the Commission on Economic and Workforce Development for the American Association of Community Colleges, which aligns with GCC’s mission statement and will help inform the implementation of its strategic plan, according to GCC.

Following the vote, board of trustees member Isaac Mass thanked Salomon-Fernández for her service to the college and expressed confidence that Hopper would support and sustain important initiatives currently underway at GCC, particularly in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. Fellow board member Christopher Donelan noted that an official presidential search will begin shortly.


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