Per Montgomery College:
Montgomery College (MC) hosted an Inauguration Ceremony today (Wednesday, October 19), officially welcoming the College’s 11th president, Dr. Jermaine F. Williams. Over 500 MC students, faculty, staff, community members, family and friends attended the celebration, held at the Music Center at Strathmore. The theme of the inauguration was “Our College, Our Community, Our Future.” Montgomery College’s Board of Trustees selected Williams in December 2021. Williams, formerly president at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, succeeded Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard who left in August 2021 after 11 years as MC’s president.
“Together we can change society in the ways that matter most: reducing poverty, increasing economic and social mobility, and producing students who are ambitious and deeply engaged in society,” President Williams said, delivering his inaugural address. “As we prepare students for post completion success, we need mentors and local business leaders to meet us there—to amplify the impact we already have. As we bring more innovation and technology into our classrooms, we need direction from small business owners, industry leaders, and economists about what kinds of job skills are needed.”
Greetings were provided by elected officials Christopher Van Hollen Jr. U.S. Senator, Maryland, Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin U.S. Representative, Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, Benjamin F. Kramer Maryland State Senator, District 19, Marc B. Elrich Montgomery County Executive, Gabriel I. Albornoz President, Montgomery County Council.
“Dr. Williams has already hit the ground running but today we gather to officially mark the start of this new chapter in the story of Montgomery College,” Senator Van Hollen said “It’s a story that is over 70 years old and while much has changed as the college has grown, one thing has remained the same: This college is defined by a tradition of excellence and service, with more students achieving success, more families seeing their loved ones earn a degree and more dreams coming to life. This college has rightfully earned their reputation as one of the very best community colleges in the entire country and that prestige has continued to unlock new opportunities for students.”
Also providing remarks were Dr. James S. Klauber President, Hagerstown Community College, Mr. Jon W. Pointer ’89 President, Montgomery College Alumni Association, J. Stephen McAuliffe III, Esq. Chair, Montgomery College Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Gail Folena-Wasserman Vice Chair, PIC MC, Ms. Dana L. Baker Co-Chair, Montgomery College Faculty Council, Ms. Beth E. Reilly Chair, Montgomery College Staff Council, Dr. Jamin K. Bartolomeo Chair, Montgomery College Administrator Council, and Ms. Deepica Premaratne Student Trustee, Montgomery College Board of Trustees.
“I have a unique appreciation for this level of commitment and impact in my current role and I know that I stand on the shoulders the leaders who came before me,” President Williams said. “I recognize several individuals who have had extraordinary impacts at the College, and for whom we will always be grateful. Our work now is to build on the successes we have inherited, and identify new ones. I know I can rely on the College’s faculty and staff to bring their talents and creativity to this venture. Montgomery College needs each of you to extend our impact even further.”
The Academic processional was led by Honorary Grand Marshal Mr. Edward S. Riggs ’69 Professor, Montgomery College Media Arts and Technologies Department. The processional also included Montgomery College’s faculty, staff and delegates from learned societies and institutions of higher education, members of the MC Board of Trustees, president of the MC Foundation, student delegates, principal administrative officers and the president himself. The program celebrated higher education and the difference that MC makes in the community.
“Dr. Williams, you are a proven leader, a proven educator and a proven teacher. You’ve made it to Montgomery County and we greet you at the dawn of the most promising career in Montgomery County, the best educated county in the US, a place where truth and science still live,” Congressman Raskin said. “It’s a county which runs on brains and hearts, and boundless dreams of the future… and we welcome you to one of the finest community colleges in all the world and we entrust you with the sacred task of empowering students for success in their futures and for creating a workforce that is dynamic, inclusive, ready to go to work, and second to none.”
His work in higher education has focused on improving access for students, as well as retention, graduation, and post-completion success. He has paid special attention to mitigating institutional societal and racial inequities, strategically creating programs and policies that support historically underrepresented and/or marginalized groups. He has years of experience designing, managing, and enhancing institutional and statewide programs and initiatives that have yielded positive student outcomes.
“On behalf of the 1.1 million residents of Montgomery County, I want to congratulate Dr. Williams. This institution has been on an amazing journey and Dr. Williams will continue to make Montgomery College a national model for education excellence, opportunity and student success,” said County Executive Elrich. “Equity leads to economic opportunity, wealth generation and wellbeing, and there is no better way than to provide educational opportunities for all. If Montgomery College succeeds, the whole county succeeds. We will continue to partner with Dr. Williams and Montgomery College. There is nothing more worth doing than educating our kids and adults.”
Dr. Williams has been widely lauded for his inclusive leadership style and for building teams that create strategic programming and policies to improve student outcomes. His professional approach to student success is deeply rooted in equity-minded systems and data-informed analysis. Dr. Williams’ view of higher education as a public good informs his personal passion about enhancing access, completion, and post-completion success, goals that are shared across Montgomery College.
In closing his inaugural address, President Williams harkened back to the ceremony’s theme:
“I ask that we hold each other accountable. And I challenge you—from whatever role you are in—to be the change you want to see. I will bring my exhilaration for this role. And I will meet you there with a personal passion for social justice and an ambitious vision of achievement — as, together, we build, Our College, Our Community, Our Future.”
To watch the inauguration in its entirety, visit the College’s inauguration webpage