HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)– The Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley has named HCC President Christina Royal as the first person to receive their ‘Woman of the Year’ award.

Royal is retiring on July 14, 2023 after serving since January 2017 as the 4th president in the college’s 75-year history. In addition to being the first woman president of the college, she is also the first openly gay and first bi-racial president.

“We are so delighted to honor President Royal,” said Mary Knight, secretary of the Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley. “One of the key things Zonta does is work to improve the lives of women and girls. That’s our mission all over the world, and we’ve been around for 103 years, so this is a really big deal.”

Royal was recognized by the club for multiple accomplishments while at HCC including creating an emergency fund to provide grants to student facing immediate financial needs, opening the first campus store in Massachusetts to accept SNAP benefits, helping students find affordable housing, and launching a child care program providing HCC student-parents access to free, short-term care for their children.

She is also credited with leading the college through the COVID-19 pandemic and raising flags on campus in recognition of Pride month and International Transgender Day of Visibility for the first time.

The Zonta Club will pay tribute to Royal and present her with a cash award for a charity or project of her choice at an event at the Ludlow Country Club on Monday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $35 per person or $25 for students.

Learn more about the Zonta Club of Quaboag Valley and how to register and purchase tickets at this website.