HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Christina Royal, the 4th president of Holyoke Community College’s 75-year history will retire following the 2022-2023 academic year on July 14, 2023, she announced.

Royal began her career in January 2017 as the first woman, first openly gay, and first bi-racial person to serve as HCC president. In a message to the HCC community, she said, “It has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life to serve as the fourth president of this great institution.” She has no specific plans following her retirement and is not leaving for another job.

Dr. Royal noted some of her accomplishments at HCC during her announcement-

  • Launching the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Program (to provide HCC student-parents access to free, short-term care)
  • Partnering with Holyoke Housing Authority (to help students find affordable housing)
  • Opening Homestead Market (the first campus store in Massachusetts to accept SNAP benefits)
  • Creating the President’s Student Emergency Fund (to provide grants to students facing immediate financial needs)

One of the greatest responsibilities of any leader is to know when and why to lead an institution and also when and why it is time to leave it,” she said. “I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting about this life change, and my ‘why’ is simple and straightforward: I am seeking expansion and personal growth in the form of new learnings and experiences and an opportunity to pause and enjoy the present moments.”

Read the full retirement announcement

Plans are underway for a replacement for the next HCC president. Visit HCC.edu for a list of current employment opportunities.

“President Royal’s understanding of higher education and the management of higher education has been invaluable to the board and to me personally,” said Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC Board of Trustees. “She has always known what needed to be done to take HCC to the next level and she involved everyone in the process of moving the college forward.”

“President Royal has laid a strong foundation with her Cabinet that will, I have no doubt, successfully carry out the daily activities of the college over this year and beyond,” he said. “The work to advance HCC’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities will indeed continue. Without question, higher education as a sector is in for a lot of change as we look to the future, but Dr. Royal has prepared our institution well and has set HCC up for success far beyond her tenure.”