The Board of Regents for Higher Education voted today to appoint Mark E. Ojakian to succeed Dr. Gregory Gray as the Interim President of the Connecticut State College and University System (CSCU). The system oversees 12 community colleges, four state universities, and Charter Oak State College (the State’s only public online college). Mr. Ojakian is currently the Chief of Staff to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and will officially begin his tenure on September 28, 2015.
"I am grateful for the confidence the Board of Regents has expressed in me by selecting me as Interim President, especially at a time when higher education in Connecticut and across the country is experiencing such dynamic and dramatic change" - Mark E. Ojakian
Chairman Nicholas Donofrio called Mr. Ojakian a “great choice” to assume the President’s position at this critical time, saying that Mr. Ojakian’s 35-year record of public service to Connecticut’s citizens positions him very well to lead the CSCU system. Added Chairman Donofrio, “Mark’s experience at the state level speaks for itself—Deputy Comptroller, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Higher Education, Chief of Staff to Governor Malloy—and has given him a unique understanding of how government can work for the benefit of its citizens. I know he will be a fierce supporter and advocate for our students, as well as for CSCU institution leadership and faculty.”
This year CSCU will serve over 90,000 students on its 17 campuses. Many of these students are four-year students pursuing baccalaureate advanced degrees, but many more are “non-traditional” students, enrolled in courses leading to associate degrees or certificates, or in individual courses designed to advance their careers or expand their learning horizons.
“I am grateful for the confidence the Board of Regents has expressed in me by selecting me as Interim President, especially at a time when higher education in Connecticut and across the country is experiencing such dynamic and dramatic change,” said Mr. Ojakian following the Board action. He added, “I am eager to work with Interim Provost Estela Lopez and the rest of the executive staff to build on the consolidation efforts made to date by my predecessors, and to contribute to the rich tradition of the institutions. My singular focus will be to honor their distinct missions while increasing the level of excellence across the System and improving the higher education experience for all of our students.”
When informed of the Board’s vote, Governor Dannel P. Malloy responded by offering Mr. Ojakian his congratulations, and saying that “Mark Ojakian has been one of my closest advisors in my administration and helped lead our efforts through some of Connecticut’s toughest challenges over the last five years. I know he will work well with the Board of Regents and our state system of higher education to make progress needed to improve the quality of education for all of Connecticut’s students.”
Following its vote on the appointment, the Board of Regents also approved a general framework for Mr. Ojakian’s employment agreement, which is expected to be executed as soon as practicable. The term of the agreement is expected to be two years.
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Maribel La Luz