NECC and MCC Presidents Speak at MV Chamber Education Conference
Local community college presidents, Lane Glenn of Northern Essex Community College and James Mabry of Middlesex, have a lot in common with the students who attend their colleges.
Glenn attended Rose State College, an Oklahoma community college before completing his bachelor’s degree at Northeastern State University, also in Oklahoma, and Mabry, like many community college students, didn’t get a serious start on his college education until he was 26.
Both went on to earn PhD’s and become presidents, and believe their own experiences have made them better prepared to lead their respective institutions.
The two were the featured speakers at the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Education Conference titled “A Conversation with the Presidents” which was held on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Andover.
Jim Carnevale of Raytheon, chair of the chamber’s education committee and moderator of the conversation, asked a series of questions about workforce development and the community college mission.
Community colleges, according to Mabry, educate more than half of the students currently enrolled in public higher education in the United States. “Our students are intensely local, living within five miles of our campuses. When you invest in public higher education, you’re investing in the core of your workforce. These are the people who are going to stay here and be critical to the success of this economy.”
A third of Northern Essex Community College students are enrolled in health care programs, said Glenn, and almost as many are in STEM programs preparing for high demand careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The college also provides corporate training, providing local employers with the training needed to grow the skills of their workforce.
Glenn is proud of the college’s police academy and is looking forward to the college’s new culinary and hospitality program, which will open at The Heights on Merrimack Street in Haverhill this coming year.
Middlesex has a new clean lab for its life science program, a new performing arts center with a 140-seat theater, and a cyber-security program, which leads to careers for associate degree graduates.
In closing Carnevale asked each president what advice they would have for a young person interested in success.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” said Glenn. “You have to be in the game. Get a goal and work toward it and don’t think you have to do it alone.”
President Mabry referred to his own late start in higher education which he believes gave him an edge. “I had learned how to work hard and take care of myself. This was critical in my success in raising my game.” He also said he would tell students ‘you don’t have to do this alone.’ “At Middlesex, we find students the resources they need to succeed.”