CALAIS, Maine — After 36 years in Maine public education, William H. Cassidy will retire as president of Washington County Community College effective at the end of this year, President John Fitzsimmons of the Maine Community College System announced Tuesday.
Cassidy, who has been president of WCCC since 2003, informed his staff of his retirement last week.
“I am looking forward to retirement with great excitement and great anxiety in that it is a very difficult decision to leave the institution,” Cassidy said Tuesday. “I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as its president.”
Cassidy, 61, was born in Calais, and said he appreciated the opportunity to come home toward the end of his career in education.
Under his leadership, the school has added new academic programs, has undertaken several significant capital improvements, and has formed new articulation agreements and partnerships with colleges and universities in Maine and New Brunswick. His tenure also has been marked by an increased emphasis on volunteerism and the role of the college in the life of the local community.
“I am grateful to Bill Cassidy for the wonderful job he has done at WCCC over the past six years,” Fitzsimmons said in a press release. “He will leave the college a much stronger institution, and he will leave behind him a legacy of dedicated service, strong personal integrity and a deep commitment to increasing educational and economic opportunity for the people of Washington County.”
A native of Calais and a graduate of Calais Memorial High School, Cassidy returned home to serve as president at WCCC after three decades in education at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. He had served previously in senior administrative posts within the Maine Community College System, as an associate commissioner within the Maine Department of Education, as director of the Waterville Regional Vocational Center, and as a teacher at the middle, high school and college levels. He succeeded WCCC President William Flahive in December 2003.
A lifelong learner, Cassidy holds credentials from Northern Maine Technical College as the only MCCS president to have graduated from one of the system’s seven institutions, from the University of Maine at Machias, Husson College, the University of Maine and Nova Southeastern University.
A search for Cassidy’s successor will begin immediately with a goal of having a new president in place by the start of the spring 2010 semester.
Cassidy said he plans to spend more time with his family.
“I will most likely do something and I hope that will still involve the systems and the communities as well because I don’t wish to retire fully. I wish to still remain active in my craft in education and I still want to be active in the community,” he said.