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Illinois educator Valerie R. Roberson selected as new president of Roxbury Community College

Posted by Roy Greene  May 23, 2013 11:11 AM

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By Globe Staff

A college administrator with nearly three decades of experience has been named president of Roxbury Community college, the state Board of Higher Education announced today.

The selection of Valerie R. Roberson, most recently vice president of academic affairs of Joliet Junior College in Illinois, was approved Thursday night by RCC’s board. She replaces interim president Linda Turner.

“I couldn’t be more humbled and proud to have been given this great responsibility,” Roberson said in a statement. “We have a once in a generation opportunity to create a community college that will be recognized as a national leader. I look forward to beginning by listening and learning from the students, staff and community about their dreams and hopes for Roxbury Community College.”

Roberson, who begins work in July, becomes RCC’s 15th president at a time of upheaval.

The previous president, Terrence Gomes stepped down amid news of federal and state investigations into lapses in crime reporting and alleged financial improprieties. A Globe series in September also uncovered a wide range of issues with campus safety, academic advising, and hiring and financial practices.

Governor Deval Patrick shook up RCC’s board in September. And In March, RCC released a report chronicling systemic lapses over the past decade by former and current administrators that caused the school to violate federal campus safety laws and apparently lose track of a significant amount of money.

In a previous position, Roberson’s served for five years as president of Olive-Harvey College of the City Colleges of Chicago. Olive-Harvey, located on the southeast side of Chicago, serves primarily African American and Latino students.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Valerie to the Commonwealth,” Patrick said in a statement.“The opportunity for RCC and the students who attend the college are numerous. I look forward to working with her as she begins this important work.”

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