SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – American International College officially swore in its 12th President Hubert Benitez Thursday afternoon.

President Benitez said ‘Bienvenidos’ to the AIC campus and he shared how excited he is to officially call this school his home. Hubert Benitez took office as the 12th president of AIC last April and was officially sworn in Thursday evening, with plenty of honorable guests including Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and U.S. Representative Richard Neal.

Speakers honored Benitez, his leadership and mentorship. Benitez’s family joined him by his side as he was officially sworn in.

“I want to tell the students come back to your institution. If you haven’t thought about college, why don’t you come and talk to us. College is for everyone, college is providing you with better future,” said Benitez.

Benitez is a native of Colombia and has dedicated the last two decades to higher education as an academic. Benitez is also a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Benitez noted how 35% of the AIC student body were first to go to college in their family. As AIC President, he wants to address some major issues facing the nation that includes increasing access to education, diversify workforce and the bridge gaps in education.

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing their dreams,” said Benitez.

AIC alum U.S. Congressman Richard Neal and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno were among the distinguished guests to give their best wishes to the new president.

“President Benitez brings with him two decades of higher education experience,” said Sarno.

Benitez spoke about how proud he is to carry the banner of AIC and is happy to answer the call to serve this school.