MACHIAS, Maine — The president of Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Dr. Joyce Hedlund, has been offered and has accepted the presidency at Washington County Community College in Calais.
“I am very excited,” Hedlund said Wednesday afternoon. “I started my career in a small town environment — Fort Kent — and at heart, I’m a small town girl.”
Still, Hedlund said it was with mixed emotions that she announced her new position and she will miss EMCC, where she has spent the last 16 years.
Hedlund said she will begin at WCCC on July 1.
She said she and her husband, Wes Hedlund, wanted to move to Washington County and saw their opportunity when WCCC President William Cassidy announced his retirement, which was effective at the end of 2009.
Wes Hedlund, who has taught biology at Bangor High School for 41 years, will be retiring from his position and researching new opportunities in Washington County.
Hedlund said there are many pluses to her new job.
“The environment,” she said. “The beauty of that environment. I don’t think WCCC is isolated at all. It is such an important part of Calais, and Calais is such an important part of the college.”
Hedlund said there is a real compatibility between the two colleges. “EMCC is a career-technical transfer college, as is WCCC. WCCC is smaller, that is true, but there are some unique opportunities there, many tied to the environment.
EMCC has 575 full-time and 750 part-time students enrolled, according to its Web site. WCCC had 400 students enrolled in 2007-08. Calls to WCCC were not returned Tuesday.
John Fitzsimmons, president of the Maine Community College System, praised Hedlund’s leadership skills.
“Joyce is an outstanding college leader,” he said. “I believe she is among the best in New England, and I’m delighted she will stay in the community college system.”
Fitzsimmons said Hedlund was the nominating committee’s unanimous selection.
“I know she will bring some great strengths to Calais and Washington County,” he said. “She was an integral part of the Bangor community, and she will certainly be missed there.”
The system’s board of trustees is expected to approve Hedlund’s nomination later this month, Fitzsimmons said, and a national search for a new EMCC president will begin in early February in hopes of filling the position for the 2010-11 school year.
Hedlund has been leading EMCC since 1994 when she stepped in as interim president and then was appointed president in 1995. The Fort Kent native received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and her master’s and doctoral degrees in personnel services and counselor education at the University of Maine. She began her career at EMCC in 1987.
Hedlund praised the service of her predecessor at WCCC, William Cassidy.
“Bill has laid a wonderful foundation there,” she said.
Hedlund said she will end her tenure at EMCC on May 31 and “take a month vacation. I’ll need to disconnect from EMCC. I really love it there.”