AUGUSTA — A Bates College graduate was chosen Tuesday as president of the Maine Community College System, according to an announcement.

The board of trustees voted unanimously to appoint Derek Langhauser, 54. He has served as interim president since February 2015.

He succeeds John Fitzsimmons, who resigned in January 2015 after Gov. Paul LePage demanded his ouster over not implementing the Bridge Year Program the governor favored. LePage also said the system wasn’t moving fast enough to transfer credits.

“From the start of his service as interim president, the board has recognized and been deeply grateful for the strength of Langhauser’s leadership,” board Chairman Robert Clark said in a news release.

Before hiring anyone, the board was committed to conducting a national search to ensure the right person was hired, Clark said. After the search, board members were confident Langhauser was the right person for the position, he said.

“Derek brings to the position an impressive combination of leadership skills, deep knowledge of our colleges, commitment to our mission and proven ability” to move the system forward, he said. 

According to Clark, during Langhauser’s 13 months as interim president, he:

• Helped bring about new legislation and philanthropic support for the community colleges;

• Entered into new contracts with all six colleges’ collective bargaining units; 

• Advanced the system’s focus on student success; and

• Was instrumental in creating the Higher Education Coordinating Committee to bring about greater collaboration with the University of Maine System.

Langhauser joined the community college system in 1994 out of private practice and has served as the system’s lawyer for more than 20 years. He was drawn to the mission of the colleges and the potential to help provide affordable and accessible education for people.

Langhauser grew up in Farmington, Conn. After graduating from Bates College in 1984, he graduated from the University of Maine School of Law. He lives in Cumberland Foreside with his wife and daughter.


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