Michael A. Baston

CLEVELAND, May 2, 2022: Michael A. Baston, Ed.D., has accepted an offer from the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) Board of Trustees to become the College’s fifth president. Baston has been president of Rockland Community College (RCC), Suffern, NY, since 2017. He will succeed Alex Johnson, Ph.D., who will step down June 30.

At a special board meeting on Monday, May 9, the Board of Trustees was scheduled to approve Baston’s appointment. He will be formally sworn in at the June 30 board meeting and begin his leadership of the College on July 1.

“Dr. Baston’s proven experience and leadership are an ideal fit for the next chapter at Tri-C,” said Helen Forbes Fields, Board chair. “He has an incredible enthusiasm to lead the College and to serve both students and the community. We are pleased and excited to welcome him to Cleveland and the Tri-C community, and we are eager to see his vision take shape.”

The announcement concludes a national search that launched in January 2021. The 22 members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, with the assistance of search firm AGB Search, received interest from a diverse pool of 29 applicants and selected three highly qualified finalists.

Baston visited Tri-C on April 11 to meet with various stakeholders and participate in a town hall forum with students, faculty, staff and community members. Feedback from the town hall provided by College and community members was incorporated into the Board’s final decision.

“It is a high honor to be selected to serve as the fifth president of Cuyahoga Community College,” Baston said. “Tri-C’s legacy of commitment to students and the community, and enormous regional economic impact is a testament to the extraordinary leadership both past and present. I look forward to leading this vanguard institution toward a bold, bright and ambitious future.”

Baston led numerous initiatives to spur growth and increase educational pathways at RCC. Under his guidance, the college launched a new hospitality and culinary arts center, career and English skills academies to address middle-skill workforce needs and significantly increased the level of grant, capital and other funding.

As a national Guided Pathways and Equity Transfer Initiative coach for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Baston is noted for his work with two- and four-year college leadership teams across the nation, helping them integrate student success initiatives to advance college completion and labor market entry success.

Among many other professional honors and activities, Baston is chair of the Black Male CEO Educators network and a member of the AACC Board of Directors, chairing its Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Baston began his career as an attorney representing various educational institutions and social justice organizations. His work with academic clients led him to pursue a second career in academics as both a professor of legal studies and business and a student affairs administrator.

Baston holds a B.A. from Iona College, a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and an Ed.D. from St. John Fisher College.

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