DeRionne P. Pollard, who is black and openly lesbian, has been selected as the new president of Montgomery College in Maryland. The college has three campuses in Montgomery County, just outside Washington, D.C., and is the largest community college in the nation.
Dr. Pollard was selected after a five-month national search that attracted 50 applicants, reports the Maryland Gazette.
Pollard, with 15 years of teaching and leading community colleges on her resume, has been the president of Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif., since 2008. During that time, the community college has seen nearly a 15 percent increase in enrollment. The Las Positas College enrolls roughly 8,800 students, while Montgomery College — the largest community college in Maryland — enrolls roughly 60,000 students."
Pollard becomes the ninth president in the college's 64-year history. Her first day is August 2.
The college's last president came under heavy criticism for lack of leadership and strategy, as well as for missing meetings and excessive spending on travel and limousines. Pollard told staff and faculty that she would be much different than that of her predecessor. "Montgomery College will be the most relevant community college in the country," Pollard promised, adding that she is "committed to being an open and communicative president."
Montgomery College becomes the second high-profile college with an openly gay black president. In February, Grinnell College named Dr. Raynard Kington as its president. Dr. Kington begins his tenure this summer and was formerly the