Great Bay Community College Announces Interim Leadership Plan, President Search

Great Bay Community College Announces Interim Leadership Plan, President Search

For Immediate Release

Dec. 14, 2017

Great Bay Community College Announces Interim Leadership Plan, President Search

Portsmouth, NH – With the departure of President Will Arvelo from Great Bay Community College (GBCC) to become Economic Development Director for the State of New Hampshire, the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) board of trustees has approved the appointment of Dr. Susan Huard as interim president of GBCC while the college conducts a search for a successor to Arvelo.  Huard is currently president of Manchester Community College, also part of the CCSNH, and will remain in that position, temporarily dividing her time between the two colleges.  Trustees expect the search to result in a successor by summer of 2018. 

Ross Gittell, CCSNH chancellor, said continuity and familiarity with the college and system were key considerations in selecting Huard for the interim post.  Maintaining the present leadership team while placing an experienced president in the role during this transition phase best meets the immediate priorities for the college.

“Dr. Huard is a well-recognized and respected education leader in NH,” Gittell said.  “She will lead and support the team at Great Bay and sustain the positive momentum the college has seen under Will Arvelo’s leadership.  Susan is a highly collaborative leader and colleague who will bring a strong combination of executive experience and understanding of the challenges and opportunities presently  before the college.” 

Huard has been MCC president for seven years, and before coming to CCSNH had a career in college administration in Connecticut.  She recently led MCC successfully through its 10-year re-accreditation, a process GBCC will undergo over the next several months.  

Gittell said the trustees will begin the search process for a successor to Arvelo early in 2018.  The search will include input and participation from college personnel, trustees, and the college advisory board which is comprised of area business and civic leaders.

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve Great Bay Community College and the Seacoast region in this capacity,” said Huard.  “I accept this temporary assignment secure in the knowledge that I will be working with an experienced team here at Great Bay, as well as at Manchester, and together we’ll keep the institutions on a strong forward trajectory.  I am passionate about the mission of community colleges to transform lives and strengthen communities.” At MCC Huard has worked to evolve and align programs to meet emerging regional needs, such as constructing new facilities and programs for skilled technical trades and emerging allied health professions, and she developed CCSNH’s “3+1” RN-to-BSN transfer program for nursing.  Under her leadership MCC developed new programs in cybersecurity and mechatronics, and expanded its automotive technology programs. 

She has also deepened MCC’s connection with the greater Manchester community, a role she looks forward to repeating on the Seacoast.  “I have admired the strong community connections that exist between Great Bay and the region it serves, a focus I have also enjoyed in my current role at MCC.  I look forward to getting to know the seacoast community.  I believe a community college plays an essential and unique role in its region, and the job of a president includes finding every opportunity to maintain a strong alignment with the local priorities.” Huard said a chief focus for her will be assisting the college with the transition to a successor to Arvelo.  “There is a natural transition when a long-tenured president departs, and I see my role as supporting the college as it moves into the next phase. I’m very happy to be here and look forward to working with this team.”

Huard, who resides in Hooksett, will divide her time between the two institutions.  

Recently, Huard chaired the Governor’s Commission on Healthcare and Community Support Workforce in 2016, and in 2017 was appointed commissioner to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  She is on the board of directors for NH Jobs for NH’s Graduates (JAG), NH Scholars, and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.  

Huard holds a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut, as well as a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Reading and English, respectively.  She was appointed president of Manchester Community College (NH) in 2010, and prior to that served as Dean of Learning and Student Development in Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, CT.

About Great Bay Community College:

Great Bay Community College is a comprehensive postsecondary institution offering quality academic and professional and technical education in support of workforce development and lifelong learning. Great Bay Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, a public system of higher education consisting of seven colleges in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Concord, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth.  The colleges offer Associate degrees and career training in technical, professional and general fields, including transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees. The college’s second campus, the Advanced Technology & Academic Center is now open in Rochester offering academic courses and a degree program in Advanced Composites Manufacturing.   For more information on Great Bay Community College, visit