A Royal Goodbye

By John O. Harney

Comings and Goings …

Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal announced she will retire from the college at the end of the 2022-23 academic year, after serving as the first woman, first openly gay and first biracial leader of the 75-year-old institution, the oldest two-year college in Massachusetts. Before joining HCC in 2017, Royal was provost and vice president of academic affairs at Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota and, before that, associate vice president for E-learning and Innovation at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and director of technology-assisted learning for the School of Graduate and Continuing Education at Marist College. Among her accomplishments, Royal invested in programs to support students’ basic needs, such as creating the President’s Student Emergency Fund (to provide grants to student facing immediate financial needs), opening Homestead Market (the first campus store in Massachusetts to accept SNAP benefits), working with the Holyoke Housing Authority (to help students find affordable housing), and launching the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Program (to provide HCC student-parents access to free, short-term care for their children).

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education chose former Pennsylvania Education Secretary Noe Ortega to be the state’s next higher education commissioner, succeeding Carlos Santiago, who in January announced plans to step down.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts appointed Sarah Iselin to be the first female CEO in the history of the state’s largest insurer. She’ll succeed Andrew Dreyfus, who plans to retire by the end of the year. As commissioner of the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, Iselin helped implement the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform law, which is seen as blueprint for the national Affordable Care Act.

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was named a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.


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