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Kathleen Hetherington, Ed.D.

Kathleen Hetherington 2nd photoKathleen Hetherington, Ed.D.

President, Howard Community College

 

Kathleen Hetherington believes she has an unusually powerful job.

“I remind our faculty and staff that we are in the business of changing lives for the better each and every day,” said Hetherington, president of Howard Community College since 2007. “Not many people can say this. It is a very powerful to know that whatever part you play in making educational opportunities possible, your efforts — especially when joined with the efforts of your colleagues — can change the world.”

Hetherington has used that power in a number of ways. Worried about the school’s graduation rate, she urged the college community to come up with ways to help students, especially at-risk students, to complete their degrees.

The school revised its mission, values and strategic plans, she said, and as a result, the number of graduates has increased by 92 percent in seven years, and this year’s graduating class was the largest in school history.

Hetherington also was instrumental in launching Maryland Community College Advocacy Day, an annual event in with some 300 community college students from across the state meet with elected officials in Annapolis to lobby for more support.

As for her fundraising efforts, the growing school has raised $14 million for capital improvements during her tenure, easily breaking the campaign goal of $12 million.

Hetherington earned her master’s degree in counseling and human relations from Villanova University, just outside of Philadelphia, and her doctor of education from Widener University, in Chester, Pa. She has won numerous awards, among them the American Association of Community Colleges Award for Excellence in Emerging Leadership.