HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – March is Women’s History Month, and Monday night, is a special honor for Holyoke Community College’s first woman president.

The Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley awarded its first-ever ‘Woman of the Year’ award to Dr. Christina Royal. The organization recognizes and celebrates Royal’s accomplishments and legacy, highlighting her leadership and innovation in meeting the needs of local vulnerable populations.

This year’s theme was “innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” Dr. Royal was a role model in this theme.

Dr. Royal is the 4th president in the 77-year history of HCC, who is not only the first woman to hold the position but the first openly gay and first bi-racial person to serve.

“Women have such incredible talents and capabilities and it feels so wonderful to be living in a time when those are being recognized in so many different ways,” said Dr. Christina Royal, Holyoke Community College President, Zonta’s woman of the year.

Royal is also the first openly gay and bi-racial president of HCC. She said its wonderful to be in this position at a time when representation matters more than ever.

Dr. Royal is set to retire in July 2023.