CCRI President Meghan Hughes announces plan to step down
After eight years leading Rhode Island’s state two-year degree school, the first female president of the Community College of Rhode Island has announced she will step down from her post on August 31.
“Serving as CCRI’s president has been the greatest professional honor of my lifetime, and I am profoundly grateful to all the faculty, staff, students, and broader Rhode Island community members who have taught me so much and who continue to inspire me daily,” Meghan Hughes said in a statement released Thursday. “I believe the time is right to transition the college to new presidential leadership by summer’s end as CCRI is strong and continuing to grow ever stronger.”
Hughes, CCRI’s fifth president, led the school through the COVID-19 crisis and initiated the Rhode Island Promise program. Initiated as a pilot program during the administration of Governor Gina Raymond, it allows full time in-state students who maintain a 2.5 GPA and enter straight from high school a free ride. According to the state, in the program’s first two years, from 2016 to 2018, the college going rate increased from 59% to 67%. Governor Dan McKee signed the program into law in 2021.
“President Hughes has been a bold, visionary leader at CCRI,” McKee said. “From making community college more accessible, to increasing graduation rates, and working together to create innovative job training partnerships in key sectors like offshore wind, President Hughes has been a true partner on our team and a key part of our Administration’s work to strengthen our state’s higher education ecosystem.
CCRI was established in 1964 as Rhode Island Junior College. It has campuses in Warwick, Newport, Providence, Lincoln, and the Westerly Education Center, has 18,000 students in credit bearing and certificate earning programs, and another 8,500 in adult education and workforce training programs, according to the school.
The Council on Postsecondary Education said it expects to announce plans for an interim president by its April 19 meeting at the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence.