By Amanda Arroway | News Editor
Gregory Gray, chancellor of Riverside Community College District, has accepted an offer to become the next president of Board of Regents for Higher Education on May 1.
The Board of Regents for Higher Education governs the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.
Perks of his new position include use of a state vehicle, as well as receiving the standard package of benefits available to state employees, according to a press release on the Connecticut State Colleges Universities website.
Gray said he is thrilled for the new job because his experience at the community college and four year university levels is going to play a role in his position.
“I have had some very valuable experiences at the community college and four year university and this system beings together those two entities,” he said.
“And to have a part in framing that new system for both community colleges and four year universities is very exciting
to me,” Philip Austin, interim president of the Board of Regents, said in the press release that Gray is a seasoned academic leader, and he is confident that Gray has the experience necessary to move the organization forward.
“With his experience, Gray will be able to transition seamlessly and ensure our students are prepared for a changing, global economy and fulfilling lives,” he said.
Gregory Gray has served as the chancellor of the Riverside Community College District since July 1, 2009.
He said aside from being excited for his new job, he was also thinking about how tough it is going to be for him to leave Riverside.
“The District is a special place,” he said.
“Each of the colleges have extreme relationships with their communities and the best days of the District and the colleges are in front of it.”
Gray said he arrived at Riverside Community College District when the state was limiting its budget, and the District was forced to eliminate classes and reduce its spending by millions.
“I think one of the things I am pleased about is (that) we were somehow able to manage the budget in such a way that it has not hurt the excitement and energy present on the three colleges,” he said.
“Now that the budget has much improved, it should really hold well for the future.” Gray also said he is appreciative
to be a part of reorganizing and being involved with making Riverside City College, Norco College and Moreno Valley
College into their own colleges, and making Riverside Community College District into a multi-district.
Doug Figueroa, president of Associated Students of Riverside City College, said Gray was very instrumental in his short time at RCCD.
Figueroa said he credits Gray for getting all three colleges credited because it was huge for each college.
Figueroa said Gray wasn’t receptive to the students prior to Associated Students of RCC approaching him and telling him they wanted to be a part of the conferences that occurred last November.
Gray’s Plan B addressed the consequences if Proposition 30 had not passed.
“It wasn’t until this year that he was really opening up to allowing students to be at the table to discuss what is going on,” Figueroa said. “But I think it was us that had to reach out and say ‘hey we need to be involved.’”
Figueroa said he is fascinated about the system Gray is going into because it combines the university system with the community college system.
He said he believes it would go nationwide if this new system is successful in Connecticut.
As far as the District, Figueroa said he hopes to have a new chancellor who is progressive.
“I think the new chancellor should be somebody progressive, somebody who understands the system, understands that it is the student that drives this business,” he said.
“RCCD is a very innovated District, and we are a progressive District in that we don’t wait for others to implement programs; we create programs.”
Javier Cabrera contributed to this article.