Berkshire Community College President Retiring
"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 Raverta. "I have loved my time at BCC and will forever be grateful for the opportunity."
The news was received by heavy hearts by college officials as Raverta's service to the college and beyond will leave lasting impressions on faculty, staff, students and the community.
"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," said trustees Chairwoman Susan Lombard.
The board will begin a nationwide search to replace him.
Raverta joined BCC in 2005 as interim president and was appointed president in 2008. He came to the college with more than 30 years of experience at Holyoke Community College, where he was a senior-level administrator and faculty member. 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 U.S. Rep. John W. 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 state, BCC Foundation, alumni and other donors, and the local business community.
The college and Raverta have also been developing partnerships with local and regional businesses, providing for them a pipeline of skilled workers who meet both short- and long-term work force needs. =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 campuswide 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 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," he said. "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."
Lombard said the board is 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," she said. "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, 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 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."