Stephen K. Mittelstet, who served as president of then Richland College in the Dallas County Community College District for 31 years, passed away on October 6. He was 78.
Mittlelstet was noted as a visionary leader who led the college through major milestones and accomplishments, most notably its recognition in 2005 as a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. Richland was the first community college to ever receive the distinction. Under his leadership, Richland in 2005 was the first accredited higher education institution to receive the Governor’s Texas Award for Performance Excellence. Also in 2005, the college created Richland Collegiate High School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering in response to local businesses’ need for more skilled STEM workers, especially engineers. Mittelstet served as superintendent of schools for the program, which built on the college’s dual-credit program.
“He was instrumental in fostering a close-knit campus culture that extended to students and others within our community,” Dallas College Chancellor Joe May said in a statement. “His legacy of academic excellence and service to others will remain forever etched into this institution’s framework. I am forever thankful for his student-centric approach which has propelled not only the Richland campus, but all of Dallas College to truly transform the lives of others.”
Kay Eggleston, who became interim president of the Richland Campus following Mittelstet’s retirement in 2010 and in 2012 was named permanent president, said she was inspired by the way he challenged the entire community to promote a fair and equitable workplace. His legacy of visionary academic leadership, innovation and professional development will long remain a part of the Richland community, she said.
Mittlelstet served at Richland for more than three decades, first as an original faculty member in the humanities program when the campus opened in 1972. He was named president in 1979.
Mittelstet served on numerous national, regional and state boards and task forces and on boards of local chambers of commerce and planning and economic development councils. He was on the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors from 1993 to 1996.
Rubén A. Barato has joined Massasoit Community College in Massachusetts as vice provost of student affairs. He previously served for more than two decades at Westchester Community College in New York, most recently as associate dean of enrollment management.
Megan Coval is now executive director of the Butler County Community College Education Foundation and external relations. She comes to the Pennsylvania college from Washington, D.C., where she previously was vice president of policy and federal relations at National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.