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Dr. Connolly receives Distinguished Leadership Award

1/9/2022 12:26:03 PM

The Sussex County Economic Development Partnership recently awarded Dr. Connolly, President of Sussex County Community College, the Distinctive Leadership Award.  

The award was presented to Dr. Connolly in recognition of his many accomplishments since becoming President of the College. Among his accomplishments since joining Sussex in 2015 are adding the McGuire Technical Education Center in downtown Newton which is bringing additional technical programs to the county college; the new Academic Building Extension which brings 5,000 square feet of makerspace and lecture hall on the main campus; and the addition of new sports programs such as wrestling, football, lacrosse, and volleyball starting in the fall of 2022. The event was held on Nov. 19 at the North Shore House in Swartzwood. 

Dr. Connelly said: “It is humbling to be recognized by the Sussex County Economic Development Partnership for Leadership here in Sussex County. The county is filled with such promise and potential, and we all share the responsibility to continuously re-invent ourselves. The work never ends, but the process improves all of us when we love what we do and believe in a mutual purpose in our efforts. I am proud to be a part of a community that cares and never stops improving.” 

He is the sixth president of the community college, which was founded in 1982 and moved to the site of the former Don Bosco College, a seminary of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, in 1989. 

Dr. Connolly has a long history of community involvement, as well as leadership undertakings in higher education. Indeed, he has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed research articles and has presented at numerous conferences and higher education leadership seminars. 

His varied professional background in education started with his graduation from Colby College in 1987 with majors in biology and geology-biology. After serving as a seventh and eighth-grade science teacher for three years, he earned a Master of Forest Science degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies with interests in the biology of trees. In 1996 he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maine in Biological Science. His research interests focused on fungi and their role in the decomposition of wood, bark, and leaves. 

Dr. Connolly was later a biology professor at Allegheny College in Meadeville, Pa., from 1997to 1998, and at Husson University in Bangor, Me., 1998-2006. While at Husson he also served as the Assistant Chief Academic Officer from 2000-2005 and as the Associate Dean of Science and Humanities from 2005-2006. More recently he had been the Dean of Math, Science and Healthcare at Lone Star College in Houston, Tex. from 2006-2009, Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD) in Sheridan, Wy., from 2009 to 20013 and then the Interim President at NWCCD from January to June 2010, and from there the College Vice President and Academic Dean at Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield, Me, from 2013 until his appointment to Sussex.