The legacy of the outgoing NCC president extends well beyond the campus


NORWALK – David Levinson never imagined he would become university president. In fact, when he was a student at SUNY New Paltz, he led several protests against the president of the school.

But things have changed as we get older.

He began teaching at Massachusetts Bay Community College and became dean. He served as a vice-president at Bergen Community College in New Jersey before eventually accepting a position at Norwalk Community College as president.

After 15 years as president of CNC, Levinson announced his retirement, effective in June.

His colleagues call him tireless, a major contributor to the school and a mentor. Le Say makes a point of creating links with the community and serving students from various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.

“It’s kind of an interesting career path for me,” said Levinson, looking back. “I saw what you can do and the change you can make in people’s lives. There is nothing like it and the fulfillment it provides is simply extraordinary.

During his tenure at NCC, Levinson co-founded Norwalk ACTS for Children, a consortium of community leaders dedicated to eradicating the achievement gap between Kindergarten and Grade 12. He was also a founder of Norwalk Early College Academy with IBM and the Norwalk School District. It offers high school students the opportunity to simultaneously obtain a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from the NCC at no cost within four to six years.

Levinson’s last day is June 30. He will spend next year as a Presidential Fellow with Connecticut Colleges and Universities.

“I’m leaving because I’ve been here for 15 years,” Levinson said. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, but it’s time for new leadership. I think I can be really useful at the system level as a presidential member next year. “

As a fellow, he can use his expertise to mentor new CEOs, regional presidents and whoever takes office.

“I will always be there in the state and I will continue to do things,” he said. “Beyond that, I will always stay in higher education.”

Mark Ojakian, president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, commended Levinson for his significant contributions to NCC and his service as vice president of CSCU.

When Levinson joined CNC in August 2004, he wanted more community involvement. In his first year, Levinson underscored his commitment to community engagement by hosting college festivals in each of the 10 cities served by the NCC. Attendees listened to lectures, took part in art exhibitions, celebrations and demonstrations, and got to know Levinson.

A year after starting his presidency, Levinson wrote “Community Colleges: A Reference Handbook,” a book used by educators across the country. The book discusses the history, development, and issues facing community colleges, and provides an overview of research on the US community college system.

Under Levinson’s leadership, NCC has been named four times on the President’s Honor Roll for higher education community service. Two years ago, he accepted White House honors for NCC’s participation in the White House Healthy Challenge, an initiative to educate students about affordable health insurance.

Cheryl DeVonish will assume Levinson’s role as interim CEO on July 1.

“I think one of the things I will continue to focus on is our facilities and making sure that students can come to campus at any time and find a space to work with another student or have access to a program. in which they can stop and enjoy, “she said.

Levinson mentored her for three years in her current role as COO. Her goal is to continue Levinson’s journey by integrating community and college and responding to the needs of the community, she said.

“It’s very bittersweet for me,” DeVonish said of Levinson’s retirement. “Firstly because I’m really excited to take on this new interim role, but it’s hard to imagine CNC without Dr Levinson. People will talk about NCC as the hidden gem and I think President Levinson has put us on the map in terms of the work he does and he is truly a champion of high quality public education.


Kevin E. Boling

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