History was made on September 19 when Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith was installed as the tenth president of River Valley Community College (RVCC) in Claremont New Hampshire. A native of Maryland, Harvey-Smith earned her undergraduate degree at Morgan State University and her Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland – College Park. She is the first African-American to lead the community college.
River Valley Community College, formerly known as the New Hampshire Community Technical College at Claremont, has been serving the community since 1968. Known for teaching its students highly specialized skills through its 35 career oriented programs, RVCC implemented an Associate in Arts program in 1999 that provides for the first two years of a four-year baccalaureate program. The main campus recently underwent a major renovation that resulted in expanded classroom and laboratory space. River Valley Community College also has a campus in Keene, site of the Keene Academic Center that provides academic counseling and financial aid services.
The new president brings solid scholarly credentials to her new assignment. An author, Harvey-Smith developed the Seventh Learning College Principle which directs focus on the revitalization of organizational cultures to transform learning environments. She has published a number of works including Partnering for Success: How to Build Strong Internal Collaborations in Higher Education. Dr. Harvey-Smith has already demonstrated her leadership skills at RVCC as the institution has regained accreditation for its nursing program and launched new partnerships with area businesses and schools.
Harvey-Smith comes to the position after stints as Vice President of Student Affairs at Baltimore City Community College and two deanships at the community college. Currently Dr. Harvey-Smith serves on the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission and previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Conference of Academic Deans, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education and other higher education related organizations. She is married to her husband of 30 years Major Donald W. Smith (U.S. Army Retired), who is a recent retiree from the U.S. Capitol Police.