AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons announced Thursday that Dr. Barbara Woodlee, president of Kennebec Valley Community College for nearly 30 years, will retire at the end of 2012.
Woodlee will continue to serve the Maine Community College System as its part-time academic officer.
This is the second time Woodlee has planned to retire. She pushed back her initial retirement, scheduled for the summer of 2010, to see through the completion of a number of large projects, among them a complex computer software conversion, several major renovation and construction projects, and the acquisition of the new 700-acre Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley.
In announcing her retirement, Fitzsimmons thanked Woodlee for her tireless work on behalf of the college and its students.
“I am so grateful to Barbara for her willingness to continue at the college longer than she had originally planned,” he said. “Over the past two years, she has led KVCC through a period of remarkable growth and positioned it for a very bright future. All of us — her students and colleagues — are deeply indebted to her and wish her only the best as she embarks on her next adventure.”
Woodlee joined the staff of Kennebec Valley Vocational Technical Institute in 1976 as director of adult education. She held a number of administrative positions before becoming president in 1984.
Over nearly three decades, she has led the institution through its transition from Kennebec Valley Vocational Technical Institute to Kennebec Valley Technical College and, in 2003, to Kennebec Valley Community College. Under her leadership, college enrollment has grown from fewer than 400 students in 1984 to more than 2,500 today, and the number of academic programs has increased from 12 to nearly 40. In each of the past two years, KVCC has been named one of the best community colleges in the nation by The Aspen Institute.
In announcing her retirement to the KVCC community, Woodlee said, “I have been honored and truly blessed to serve as President of KVCC. It has been exciting to watch the college develop and grow. Every year brought a new set of challenges and opportunities, as well as new faculty and staff members. I have enjoyed so many wonderful friendships at KVCC. Leaving is difficult, but I do not plan to slow down until my very last day at the college.”
Woodlee holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Farmington. Like so many of the thousands of students she has served over the years, she began her education with a two-year degree from Cazenovia College in New York.
Woodlee’s retirement will be effective Dec. 30, 2012. A search for a new president at KVCC will begin immediately in hopes of filling the position by the end of the fall 2012 semester.