Barbara W. Woodlee, president of Kennebec Valley Community College from 1984 to 2012, stands Friday in front of Woodlee Hall at the KVCC campus in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

FAIRFIELD — Kennebec Valley Community College has named one of its academic buildings in honor of Barbara W. Woodlee, who served as the school’s president from 1984 to 2012.

A dedication ceremony for Woodlee Hall is scheduled for Monday, with remarks from Woodlee and others from KVCC and the Maine Community College System.

Woodlee said Friday she was “shocked” when KVCC officials gave her the news a few weeks ago.

“It was stunning and totally unexpected,” Woodlee said. “And it’s just such an extraordinary honor and, really, for me, a humbling experience.”

Karen Normandin, the interim president of KVCC, said when she began having conversations about naming the building, Woodlee’s name kept coming up. And when Normandin went to the community college system’s board of trustees, it fully supported the decision to honor Woodlee.

“We thought that it was just a really a great way for us to recognize the contribution that she’s made to this college specifically, and to the community college system in general,” Normandin said.


Barbara W. Woodlee stands in front of Woodlee Hall at the Kennebec Valley Community College campus in Fairfield. Now retired, Woodlee was president of KVCC from 1984 to 2012. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The building is at the college’s Harold Alfond Campus in Fairfield, and was completed in 2015. It features classrooms, lecture halls and science labs, according to Normandin.

The building did not have a formal name until now, and was often called the science building or science and agriculture building.

During her tenure as KVCC president, Woodlee oversaw significant change and growth at the college. When she began as president, the college was known as the Kennebec Valley Vocational Technical Institute. It then became Kennebec Valley Technical College, and finally Kennebec Valley Community College.

As president, Woodlee guided many projects and was involved in 2012 in the Harold Alfond Foundation’s donation of 700 acres to the Maine Community College System. The land would become KVCC’s Harold Alfond Campus.

Woodlee was inducted in 2015 into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame and received a distinguished community service award from the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce in 1997, a distinguished alumni award from the University of Maine at Farmington and an achievement citation from the American Association of University Women.

Woodlee announced her retirement from KVCC in 2010, but remained president until her successor — Richard R. Hopper — was named. Woodlee then worked for the Maine Community College System until 2015.


Woodlee is no longer in education and moved several years ago with her husband to Virginia Beach, Virginia.

When asked to reflect on her time at KVCC, Woodlee thanked those who worked with her — businesspeople, graduates, faculty members, grant writers and others — to help the college grow.

“When I look at it all together,” Woodlee said, “there are just so many people who really, really contributed to the success of this institution.”

Normandin said she has worked in various positions at KVCC for more than 30 years, and worked closely with Woodlee. Now, as KVCC’s interim president, Normandin gets to present Woodlee Hall to her former boss.

Normandin said she remembers Woodlee’s passion for the job, and everything Woodlee did to be involved with the community around KVCC.

“The other thing that I always remember about her was how supportive she was,” Normandin said. “I don’t think I’d be where I am today had it not been for her influence.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story