Champlain College inaugurates Alejandro Hernandez as its 10th president

The culmination of the festive events is an official ceremony that charts a “ready” course for the future

Vermont Business Magazine Champlain College on Saturday officially inaugurated its 10th president, Alejandro (“Alex”) Hernandez. Focusing on the theme of “readiness,” Hernandez outlined plans to “build a better future” for students, the college and Vermont.

“Education creates opportunity, and I’ve dedicated my life to the idea that we can build institutions that prepare students READY, not by luck or privilege, but by design,” said Hernandez, reflecting on feeling unprepared early in life you are Champlain’s educational model is intentionally designed to make students “Work Ready. Ready for life. We are ready to make a difference,” he explained.

The 90-minute ceremony began with a lively opening procession, followed by remarks that honored Champlain’s rich history and trumpeted aspirations for this new chapter.

Outlining his vision for building a better future, Hernandez highlighted four key initiatives he’s taking on in Champlain’s next chapter. These initiatives will strengthen Champlain’s longstanding reputation as a leader in career-focused learning and create additional opportunities within its unique and highly effective flipped curriculum model.

  1. Serves as an economic engine for Vermont. Hernandez announced a new innovation center in partnership with Hula to elevate entrepreneurship in Vermont. To launch the partnership, Hernandez will teach an entrepreneurship masterclass at Hula featuring Vermont startup founders and leaders. The collaboration will include educational and upskilling programs, internships, faculty collaborations, student projects through the college’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and shared spaces. Champlain College’s Lakeside campus will also be the epicenter of other company partnerships with employers.

  2. Be the best place in the world for women in cybersecurity. Champlain College has one of the top cybersecurity and digital forensics programs in the country. Cybersecurity professionals and alumni Brianna Blanchard (BS ’11, MS ’16) and Jess Turner (BS ’22) will co-chair the Women in Cybersecurity Leadership Council to shape this important effort. The initiative will provide a plan to support more women, self-identifying students and other underrepresented groups in STEAM fields.

  3. Give full STEAM forward. As part of its R/Evolutionary 2030 strategic plan, Champlain will launch new degrees in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields such as product design, as well as expand into healthcare and life sciences. The college will build on its radically pragmatic, hands-on interdisciplinary approach to learning and prepare students to be Champlain-ready in emerging sectors such as digital health and synthetic biology.

  4. Be more human in the digital world. In a world being reshaped by technology, those traits that make us most human are the ones that drive long-term student success: empathy, relationship building, working across differences, entrepreneurial thinking. These skills are taught through the college’s core curriculum and global experiences in Dublin and Montreal. Champlain College will be a leader in intertwining human skills and digital skills – and is launching a Digital Humanities major in fall 2024 for students to develop the skills needed to address societal challenges.

Among the more than 180 attendees and distinguished guests at today’s ceremony were Mayor Weinberger, Provost Dr. Monique Taylor, Board Chair Judy O’Connell, Alumni Representative Meg Daudelin, local business leaders, state and local officials, fellow academics and delegates to Champlain College, trustees, alumni, faculty and students.

About Champlain College: Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, private, not-for-profit college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional student experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and more than 90 undergraduate and online bachelor’s and master’s programs and certificates. Champlain’s distinctive career-oriented approach to higher education embodies the idea that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain ranks in multiple US News and World Report “Best Colleges” categories, including Best Value Schools, Best Colleges in the North, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Best in Social Mobility. Champlain was also named among The Princeton Review’s “Top 388 Colleges” in 2023 and was recognized as a 2022 College of Distinction for its “Engagement, Teaching, Community and Results.” For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.

Burlington, Va., November 5, 2022—Champlain College

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