Maricopa Community Colleges celebrate Dr. Harper-Marinick

From left is Pearl Chang Esau, President and CEO of Expect More Arizona; Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of Maricopa Community College District; and Alfredo Gutierrez, President of the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board. (submitted photo)

From left is Pearl Chang Esau, President and CEO of Expect More Arizona; Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of Maricopa Community College District; and Alfredo Gutierrez, President of the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board. (submitted photo)

Guests celebrated the appointment of Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick as Chancellor of the Maricopa Community College District during a special celebration at the Arizona Biltmore on June 21.

Dr. Harper-Marinick becomes the first female and first Latina ever appointed Chancellor to a higher education institution in Arizona, according to a press release.

“A new era has come to Maricopa Community Colleges as we congratulate Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick on her new role as Chancellor,” said Alfredo Gutierrez, president of the governing board, in a prepared statement.

“As the education landscape continues to evolve, Maria’s steady leadership, commitment to lifelong education and stellar reputation at both a local and national level will elevate Maricopa Community College’s standing as an institution dedicated to high achievement and successful student outcomes.”

With a career spanning nearly 25 years at Maricopa Community Colleges, Dr. Harper-Marinick has served in several top-level posts, including executive vice chancellor and provost, and interim chancellor.

Taking the reins from the now retired Chancellor Rufus Glasper, she will oversee system-wide operations, which serve 200,000 students and nearly 10,000 faculty and staff members across 10 colleges (Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain), a Corporate College, two skills centers (Maricopa Skill Center, Southwest Skill Center) and several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes.

In addition, as chancellor, Dr. Harper-Marinick sets the vision for the higher educational institution’s strategic plan, guides policy development, and oversees initiatives and outcomes related to workforce, economic and community development; civic and global engagement; and increasing student success.

“There is an unprecedented demand for skilled workers among employers not only here in Arizona, but across the nation, making it vital for higher education institutions to educate, train and prepare the next generation of employees to be workplace-ready,” said Dr. Harper-Marinick in the press release.

“Maricopa Community Colleges continue to deliver an exemplary education that equips students with the foundational skills they need to excel in their careers and in life.”

The appointment of Dr. Harper-Marinick, a native of the Dominican Republic, caps off an extensive search conducted by a specially-appointed committee. The Search Committee, co-chaired by Arizona State University President Michael Crow and Maricopa Community Colleges Faculty Association President Salina Bednarek, considered a broad pool of candidates for the Chancellor position.

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