This year’s winners of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges’ (AAWCC) annual awards are probably on many people’s short-list when it comes to seeking advice on leadership, partnerships, advocacy and more. That’s because each of them is nationally recognized for their work that has not only advanced community colleges but propelled their institutions forward by leaps and bounds.
It’s not by accident that Howard Community College in Maryland in 2019 received the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the category of education — only the second individual community college to accomplish that. President Kathleen Hetherington, who has led the college for 14 years, was at the center of guiding the college toward excellence.
And when the pandemic hit, DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College in Maryland, was not only the catalyst to help the college’s students with much-needed emergency funds to take care of basic needs, her efforts and leadership style became a national blueprint for serving students with a more caring and compassionate approach.
Barbara Lovenheim, board chair at Monroe Community College in New York, recently led the college leadership in selecting its new president (she has led the board in hiring the past three presidents). That process included developing a list of presidential expectations that guided the hiring process and ensuring that all stakeholders at the college had a voice in that process. (The upcoming issue of AACC’s Community College Journal has a feature on what trustees, including Lovenheim, look for in selecting a new president.)
Angel Royal, chief of the staff at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), has spearheaded many of the association’s high-profile initiatives, events and meetings: cultivating corporate partnerships, managing the association’s leadership suite, organizing its annual convention, revamping the AACC Competencies for Community College Leaders and, most recently, developing the Equity Transfer Initiative, which is a partnership endeavor with American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to increase transfer rates for African-American, Hispanic, adult and first-generation learners.
The 2021 AAWCC award winners are:
- The Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year Award: Angel Royal, chief of staff at the American Association of Community Colleges
- The Carolyn Desjardins CEO of the Year: Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College in Maryland
- Trustee of the Year: Barbara Lovenheim, board chair at Monroe Community College in New York
- National Champion for Women and Community Colleges Leadership: DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College in Maryland
“I commend the American Association of Women in Community Colleges for this year’s award recipients. All of the honorees represent excellence in leadership for the nation’s community colleges,” AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus said in a statement (AAWCC is an affiliate council of AACC). “On behalf of AACC, I would like to extend congratulations to Dr. Barbara Lovenheim, Dr. Kate Hetherington, and Dr. DeRionne Pollard for their well-deserved recognition. I am also incredibly proud of the work of AACC’s own chief of staff, Dr. Angel M. Royal and am thrilled that she is being honored as the Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year. I have worked with Angel for nearly two decades and can attest to her hard work and dedication to the advancement of the nation’s community colleges.”