Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian has announced that NCC President David L. Levinson, Ph.D. will retire on June 30, 2019. President Ojakian praised Dr. Levinson for his meaningful contributions to NCC and to the state as Vice President for the CSCU Community Colleges.
Dr. Levinson will stay on for an additional year to support ongoing system efforts. He will serve as a Presidential Fellow and contribute to CSCU’s Student First initiatives from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
Since announcing his retirement, Dr. Levinson has expressed gratitude to the college community and NCC’s educational partners, with whom he has achieved so much.
“We’ve accomplished a tremendous amount during the past 15 years, serving tens of thousands of students whose lives will be forever transformed by your care and dedication,” he told faculty and staff. “I know that you will continue to nurture the success of countless students … I am grateful for the joy you brought to my life and will forever be #NCCProud.”
Dr. Levinson joined NCC on August 2, 2004. At that time, he announced a strong desire for the college to engage more fully with the region it serves. He envisioned NCC as “a partner in the economic and cultural lives of our communities, providing comprehensive, accessible, innovative and affordable learning opportunities.”
In his Inaugural year, Dr. Levinson underscored that commitment to community engagement by holding Academic Festival events in each of the 10 towns NCC serves. Residents enjoyed lectures, art shows, celebrations and demonstrations—and got to know the college and its new leader a little better.
“I’m proud of the level of community engagement we’ve had over the years. I didn’t do this by myself,” he said. “My personal philosophy is that no one ever does anything alone.”
A year into his presidency, Dr. Levinson wrote “Community Colleges: A Reference Handbook,” a book used by educators nationwide (published by ABC CLIO; 2005). He has since written many journal articles and made nearly 80 presentations at professional association conferences on topics ranging from the achievement gap and data-driven decision making to social justice and student success.
Dr. Levinson is especially gratified that NCC is the only community college in Connecticut to earn elective Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and to be included in the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll four times.
Under his leadership, NCC established a Service Learning program enabling students to earn college credits while doing volunteer work. He co-founded Norwalk ACTS for Children, a consortium of community leaders dedicated to eradicating the pre-K to 12th grade achievement gap. He also founded the Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) with IBM and the Norwalk public schools. The state’s first Pathways in Technology (P-Tech) school, NECA provides an opportunity for students in grades 9-14 to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and no-cost NCC associate degree within six years.
Under Dr. Levinson’s stewardship, NCC has achieved national stature. The college became an Achieving the Dream Leader College, a national distinction for its outstanding student success initiatives. NCC also received a $763,000 grant from the MDC/ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a developmental education initiative. In addition, NCC was chosen to lead a federal $12.1 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant for a Health and Life Sciences Career initiative.
In 2016, Dr. Levinson accepted honors at The White House in Washington, D.C. for NCC’s participation in the White House Healthy Challenge, an initiative to inform college students about affordable health insurance.
“I was lucky enough to meet First Lady Michelle Obama and stand behind her in a portrait,” he recalled. “I also got to pet Bo, the First Family’s dog!”
Recognizing the financial hardships faced by NCC students, Dr. Levinson has tirelessly raised funds for the NCC Foundation to provide student scholarships.