Dr. Paul Raverta, President of Berkshire Community College (BCC), announced this morning he will retire from the institution effective January 7, 2012. The news was received by heavy hearts as Dr. Raverta's service to the college and beyond will leave lasting impressions on faculty, staff, students and the community.
"For the last three years, I have looked for ways to balance the role of President and family life. At this time, it has become clear that I must shift focus," said Dr. Raverta. "I have loved my time at BCC and will forever be grateful for the opportunity..."
In 2005, Raverta joined BCC as interim president and was appointed president in 2008. He came to BCC with more than 30 years of experience at Holyoke Community College where he served as a senior-level administrator and faculty member. Dr. Raverta holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Boston College as well as a master's degree in science teaching and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from American International College.
During his tenure at BCC, the college has received more than $10.8 million in grant funding for projects including the teaching and learning center, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at BCC, and TRIO Student Support Services Program. Over the next few months, a Sustainable Energy Training Center, supported by funding through Congressman John Olver and the Northeast Utilities Foundation, will modernize the college's Hoffmann Environmental building. BCC initiated more than $13 million in capital improvements to the college's campus and physical infrastructure with support from the Commonwealth, BCC Foundation, alumni and other donors, and the local business community.
The college and Dr. Raverta have also been developing partnerships with local and regional businesses, providing for them a pipeline of highly-skilled workers who meet both short and long term workforce needs. Dr. Raverta emphasized the importance of partnering with the regional K-12 systems on programs such as dual enrollment as well as the Positive Options Program, which has been designed to help at risk high school students recover credits by attending classes at BCC so that they are eligible to graduate on time. With the ever-increasing attention on environmental issues, Raverta saw to it that BCC began its own transformation into a living laboratory with the addition of a campus-wide energy management system, noncredit options in both weatherization and photovoltaic installation and sales, an on-campus Green Team, and, perhaps most notably, the $1.8 million installation of more than 1,800 roof-mounted solar panels, the largest array on a public institution in Massachusetts.
Raverta also credits these collective successes to BCC's executive team and more than 350 dedicated individuals who are employed by the college.
"The faculty, staff and administrative leadership is especially strong, and I am confident that the institution will continue to move forward despite the challenging times," noted Raverta. "For all the reasons that the residents of the region love this institution, the future is indeed bright for Berkshire Community College. The work that goes on at BCC every single day comes down to one primary objective ? to help our students realize their full potential. "
"The Board of Trustees regrets that President Raverta will retire this year. Any day that he could have chosen to retire would be ‘too soon.' However, we respect his decision and wish him well as he enters the new world of retirement," remarked Susan Lombard, Chair of the BCC Board of Trustees. "We will always be grateful that he stayed three times longer than he promised to stay when he arrived in 2005. For the college and the community, his strong leadership, entrepreneurial approach, and passion for BCC's mission and its students will have a far-reaching impact as the college moves forward. President Raverta has helped BCC establish a strong foundation on which future initiatives can be built, and we share his confidence that the college's future is bright."
In addition to his role at the college, Dr. Raverta has served on a number of boards in Berkshire County including: Berkshire Health Systems, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Business Roundtable, Berkshire Compact for Education, and the Berkshire Regional Employment Board. Also highly regarded in the academic community, Raverta served on the Community College Advisory Committee for The College Board, as a member of accreditation teams evaluating two-year colleges for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and, most recently, led the Massachusetts Community Colleges Council of Presidents as chairman.
Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto expressed his own appreciation for Dr. Raverta's service. "Paul Raverta put the word ‘community' back into Berkshire Community College. He has always made certain that BCC services a broad spectrum of our needs in Berkshire County and he has done it with energy, class and grace. He is the consummate professional educator and will certainly be missed."
A nationwide search for Dr. Raverta's replacement will begin over the next few months under the direction of the BCC Board of Trustees.