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Cassidy family has a leadership legacy at Maine college


​(From left) Bill Cassidy, Joseph Cassidy and Vinton Cassidy

Photo: Maine Community College System

​Many colleges and universities enjoy strong connections to individual families, alumni or faculty whose children and grandchildren maintain enduring ties to the institution. But few, if any colleges, can match the legacy of the Cassidy family at Washington County Community College (WCCC) in Calais, Maine.

Last month, the board of trustees of the Maine Community College System (MCCS) appointed Joseph Cassidy as president of WCCC. A lawyer, former elementary school teacher and former mayor of Calais, Joe Cassidy has taught education at WCCC for the past nine years, serving as both president of the faculty association and the college’s affirmative action officer. His professional ties to the college are strong, but his deep family connections to the institution are stronger.

For the past 34 years, Joe’s father—Vinton Cassidy—has been a drafting instructor at WCCC. On the day that the MCCS board named Joe president, it also conferred the title of faculty emeritus on Vinton, who retired this spring.

After the two votes, the board turned to Bill Cassidy—Joe’s uncle, Vinton’s brother—to acknowledge and celebrate his many contributions to the college which has an enrollment of about 500 students. For seven of the past ten years, Bill has served as president of WCCC, first as president from 2003-2009 and this past year as interim president. Prior to returning to his hometown to assume leadership of the college in 2003, Bill served for 17 years as an administrator within MCCS.

In all, the Cassidy family has dedicated 67 years of service to MCCS and just about as many to the Calais and Washington County community. Vinton served as a state senator from 1992 to1998 and, like his son, as mayor of Calais. In 2009, Bill was recognized by the New Brunswick Community College, across the St. Croix River from Calais, for his leadership in collaborative international education.

“The Cassidy family has a long and proud tradition of giving of their time and talent to the people of Washington County,” said MCCS President John Fitzsimmons in praising their many contributions. “WCCC has been fortunate for their nearly seven decades of leadership. I have deep respect for each of them and appreciate their shared dedication to their students. They are an extraordinary family, and we have a stronger college and a better community college system for their service."