Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College, is among several Massachusetts women featured in a photo exhibition and story project recently unveiled in the State House.

The exhibit on display in Senate President Karen Spilka’s office celebrates the stories of women of color throughout Massachusetts’ history. “HERstory: Volume II” is the second installment of photos to celebrate the accomplishments of 91 women with ties to the state, ranging from 17th-century tribal leader Weetamoo, to poet and activist Amanda Gormon, who last month read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

In 2017, Royal became HCC’s fourth president and the first woman to hold the position.

“This is a time for us to recognize that the lived experiences of women in the Commonwealth matter, and that we are a diverse group of women of different races, ethnicities, social classes, abilities, educational levels, gender expressions and sexual orientations,” Royal said in a release. “I am proud to share my story as a multiracial, queer woman so that girls and young women can see representation of themselves in society, and grow up believing in their limitless potential.”

A website contains photos and short bios of each honoree. Royal is No. 38.

CEO retirement

Evelyn Jorgenson, president of NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), recently announced her plans to retire on June 30, 2022. She has served as president for nine years and has devoted 48 years to education.

Under Jorgenson’s leadership, NWACC is now the largest community college in Arkansas. She oversaw the creation of NWACC’s culinary school, several new facilities and upgrades to its IT infrastructure. “Dr. J,” as she is known at the college, also operated the college with a balanced budget and no deficit spending. She oversaw millions of dollars in cost-savings with changes to NWACC’s health insurance plans and right-sizing the administration, including eliminating the role of provost. Relocating adult education programs to the main NWACC campus eliminated the cost of leasing. Jorgenson was also successful in locating the first Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center (APAC) outside of Little Rock onto the NWACC Bentonville campus, offering a convenient location to assist small businesses in northwest Arkansas.


Bill Pink, president of Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, was tapped by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to serve on an advisory board looking at what tools and resources Michigan students will need to get back on track as the state emerges from the pandemic. He is one of 33 educators and lawmakers from across the state (and the only member from higher education) appointed to the Student Recovery Advisory Council.

Kyle Barron has been named vice president for student services at Jackson State Community College in Tennessee. He comes from Volunteer State Community College where he was assistant vice president for student services.

Girard Melancon, vice chancellor for workforce solutions at Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana, has been appointed by the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships to a national Industry Recovery Panel that will advise federal recovery policies for the Biden administration and new Congress in the coming months. Melancon will serve on the panel’s manufacturing group, which will focus on the Biden administration’s Made in All of America initiative.

Daniel Ogunyemi is now Ozarks Technical Community College’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion. He comes from Burrell Behavioral Health where he worked in diversity, equity and inclusion for the mental health provider. He had previously taught at the college as a part-time psychology instructor.

Andre Poplar has joined Michigan’s Oakland Community College as its new vice chancellor of human relations and diversity, equity and inclusion. Previously, he was executive director of labor relations and benefits at the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Eunice Tarver is now vice president of student success and equity at Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma. She previously served as the college’s Northeast Campus provost and assistant vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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