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The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities’ board of regents named David Levinson as interim president of the state's to-be-consolidated community college system, which will be called Connecticut State Community College.
The board on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of hiring Levinson, the former president of Norwalk Community College who retired last year, for the position. Levinson's starting salary is $288,354, per the agreement.
"If there ever was a time we needed the Connecticut State Community College, it's now," Levinson said after the board approved his hiring. "We need an institution that can marshall our scarce resources… [and] focus on issues such as equity and student success."
Levinson's hiring came during a public conference call meeting Thursday, during which the board also approved the hirings of CEO positions for five community college campuses in the state.
Board members also approved the hirings of Duncan Harris -- currently Capital Community College' interim CEO -- as campus CEO of Capital Community College; Nicole Esposito -- currently an administrator at Springfield Technical Community College -- as campus CEO of Manchester Community College; Steven Minkler -- currently interim CEO of Middlesex Community College -- as campus CEO of Middlesex Community College; William "Terry" Brown -- currently president of Nashville State Community College, and a former administrator at Naugatuck Community College -- as campus CEO of Gateway Community College; and Dwayne Smith -- currently president of Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis -- as campus CEO of Housatonic Community College.
Harris, Esposito and Minkler are scheduled to officially start in their new positions on June 5, while Brown and Smith will start July 6. All will earn starting salaries of $155,250.
The official naming of Connecticut State Community College, and hiring of an interim president marks a major milestone in the three-year effort overseen by CSCU President Mark Ojakian to consolidate Connecticut's 12 community colleges.
"We have officially established Connecticut State Community College, which will seek accreditation in 2022," Ojakian said. "I am confident we will be able to move forward and build our new college."
CSCU will meet with the New England Commission of Higher Education, the regional higher education accreditation body, at the end of June to discuss its progress and transition plan for consolidating the state's community colleges, Ojakian said. Under the current timeline, the newly-consolidated community college would begin enrolling students in the fall of 2022.
Ojakian announced additional hires who will assist with Connecticut State Community College's accreditation process, including Michael Rooke -- currently president of Northwestern Connecticut Community College -- as interim provost and Kerry Kelley -- currently director in the state's Office of Policy and Management's Budget and Financial Management division -- as interim CFO.
"I'm very proud of this team, and I look forward to working with them on continuing to build this [higher education] structure," Ojakian said. "Today we are propelled forward."
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