Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI)
Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI)

Dr. Meghan Hughes, President of the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) since 2016, has announced today that she will step down from her position, effective August 31, 2023.

CCRI shared the news in a press release this afternoon, saying President Hughes oversaw the transformation of the community college and the implementation of a model free community college program.

As the 5th president of CCRI, and the first female president, CCRI shares in a press release that Dr. Hughes is recognized as a higher education visionary who led the transformation at the community college with an unwavering focus on student success and a commitment to providing Rhode Islanders with an outstanding education that leads to strong learning outcomes, successful degree attainment, and robust labor market opportunities. Dr. Hughes has placed closing equity performance gaps at the center of her work. Under her leadership, the college achieved the highest graduation rates in more than 20 years, outpacing national two-and three-year graduation rates, and was named the 2019 two-year college of the year by Education Dive magazine.

Dr. Hughes will complete her service at CCRI after successfully leading the College through the challenges of the pandemic and building a strong leadership team that will continue to position the college for future success in providing thousands of Rhode Islanders access to an affordable, high-quality education.

“Serving as CCRI’s president has been the greatest professional honor of my lifetime, and I am profoundly grateful to all the faculty, staff, students, and broader Rhode Island community members who have taught me so much and who continue to inspire me daily,” said Dr. Hughes in a statement. “I believe the time is right to transition the college to new presidential leadership by summer’s end as CCRI is strong and continuing to grow ever stronger. We have largely emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, our enrollment continues to recover each semester, and we are laser focused on supporting strong student learning outcomes. Our commitment to creating equitable access and delivering outstanding credentials that lead to quality employment and seamless transfer is powerfully advanced every day across all four campuses, and I have full confidence in our faculty, staff, and administrators to continue advancing this work.

“President Hughes has been a bold, visionary leader at CCRI,” said Governor Dan McKee in a provided statement. “From making community college more accessible, to increasing graduation rates, and working together to create innovative job training partnerships in key sectors like offshore wind, President Hughes has been a true partner on our team and a key part of our Administration’s work to strengthen our state’s higher education ecosystem.”

“I speak on behalf of the entire Council on Postsecondary Education when I say how much we will miss Dr. Hughes’ passion and commitment to the CCRI community,” said David Caprio, Esq., Chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education in a provided statement. “Her transformational leadership has profoundly impacted countless lives and elevated CCRI to one of the best community colleges in the nation.”

“We wish Meghan Hughes all the best in her future endeavors, and we are certain she will be successful based on her achievements while serving Rhode Islanders as the president of the Community College of Rhode Island,” said Shannon Gilkey, Ed.D., Rhode Island’s Commissioner of Postsecondary Education in a provided statement. “On behalf of the Council on Postsecondary Education, I thank Dr. Hughes for her years of valued service to public higher education in our state and share our deep appreciation for her leadership. Dr. Hughes has been a relentless champion of CCRI and it showed in everything she did as president. Immediately, the council will begin the process to fill the vacancy at the college’s helm and will seek candidates with high caliber academic and institutional management experience who will prepare Rhode Islanders with high quality degrees and certifications required to be successful in the modern economy.”

The Council on Postsecondary Education is expected to announce plans for an interim president by the April 19 meeting, according to the press release.

Representative Seth Magaziner (RI-02) issued the following statement after Dr. Meghan Hughes announced that she will be stepping down as CCRI President this summer.

“Since 2016, Dr. Meghan Hughes has been a tremendous leader at one of our state’s most important institutions of higher learning. Thanks to Dr. Hughes, CCRI has developed robust partnerships across the public and private sectors, preparing thousands of Rhode Islanders for good jobs. I’m so grateful for Dr. Hughes’ abiding commitment to academic excellence, equity, and inclusion, and I look forward to seeing what she chooses to do in this next phase of her career.”