Our Presidents

Dr. John B. Cook, President 2016 –

Prior to his appointment as President of STCC, Dr. Cook was Vice President of Academic Affairs at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire. In this role, he was responsible for the administration, leadership and oversight of all academic programs and faculty at the college. Successes at MCC included working with faculty to revise developmental education, creating Early College pathways, and injecting energy into a comprehensive program review and assessment process. He also worked for 12 years at Granite State College, one of four institutions in the University System of New Hampshire. Granite State is known as the leading provider of public online education in the state. He served in multiple roles, including Assistant Dean of Faculty, Faculty Coordinator, and Research & Evaluation Coordinator for a child welfare training partnership. For several years, Dr. Cook taught Research Methods and Educational Psychology part-time to Granite State undergraduates. Dr. Cook has long held a deep interest in the relationships between communities and their higher education collaborators. He was selected in 2010 to be an Emerging Engagement Scholar by the consortium whose goal is to work collaboratively to build strong college/university partnerships. His past local service has included serving as a member of the Town of Tuftonboro (NH) budget committee, zoning board of adjustment, and planning board. He holds a B.S. from Lawrence University in Psychology and Anthropology, a master’s degree in Community/Social Psychology from UMass Lowell, and a Ph.D. in Education (Curriculum Instruction) from the University of New Hampshire.

 

Dr. Ira H. Rubenzahl, President 2004-2016

Dr. Rubenzahl had previously served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Greenfield Community College, and then President of Capital Community College in Hartford. At STCC, he was instrumental in creating the Diversity Council, which sponsors workshops and events for the college community. His commitment to urban education and outreach to greater Springfield has resulted in a 68% increase in African American and Latino enrollment at STCC, which has been designated a Hispanic Serving Institution. Also, STCC's reputation for inclusion has attracted an increasingly diverse staff and faculty. Dr. Rubenzahl is responsible for a number of STCC “firsts” - national recognition as an Achieving the Dream Leader College for the advancement of student success goals; the opening of STCC's Veterans and Service Members Center; the Great Ideas at STCC idea-sharing initiative resulting in over 2,380 employee driven ideas to improve the way the college operates and assists students; the innovative TWO (Training and Workforce Options) partnership with Holyoke Community College, assisting area businesses; creating the Manufacturing Round Table with local manufacturers and educators to promote manufacturing in our region; leading the Mass Green Initiative to create a skilled workforce in “green” technologies; locating the Gateway to College high school on campus to help students who have dropped out of high school or who may not graduate, to obtain a high school diploma and earn college credits. Most recently, he has collaborated with the Commonwealth to renovate the historic Building 19 on the campus, to a modern, energy-efficient Student Learning Commons. On October 18, 2016 at the official groundbreaking ceremony the building was officially named the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons.

 

Dr. Andrew M. Scibelli, President 1983-2004

Dr. Andrew M. Scibelli served as biology professor, registrar, and community relations director at STCC. During his subsequent 21 years as president, he inspired and energized faculty and staff, bringing STCC to regional and national prominence. He also served on the Board of the American Association of Community Colleges. Under Dr. Scibelli's leadership, STCC: expanded academic programming, becoming the most comprehensive community college in New England; constructed the 7-floor Anthony M. Scibelli Hall; forged strong links with the community, including establishment of health clinics operated by our academic programs and serving area residents, and formed partnerships with corporations such as IBM and Ford Motor Company.

 

Leonard J. Collamore, President 1981-1983

Leonard Collamore was a founding professor at STCC, teaching European History and Western Civilization for more than 30 years. For two years, he served the college as president, and considered himself “very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve this fine institution,” noting that “because of STCC, thousands of lives have been enriched.” After military service, Leonard taught at area high schools while earning his M.Ed. Meeting Charles V. Ryan started a different course for Len’s life, as he became mayoral aide for six years, and in that capacity assisted Dr. Garvey and Rep. Scibelli in their quest to create STCC. Having been asked by Dr. Garvey to teach at the new college, Leonard left the mayor’s office in June, and spent the summer with hammer and nails, helping to build classrooms for the fall. In 1968, Leonard was elected to the first of six consecutive terms on the Springfield City Council, and was later elected to the Hampden County Commission, where he served for 18 years, several of those years as chairman. Leonard was also the creator, producer and head writer of the award-winning, long-running high school quiz show “As Schools Match Wits” on Channel 22. Leonard was known as an expert on Christopher Columbus, and amassed a significant collection of books and memorabilia on the subject. He also led student tours to Europe, particularly to areas associated with Columbus.

 

Dr. Robert C. Geitz, President 1974-1981

STCC's second president was a brilliant, multi-talented man, an engineer and inventor as well as an artist. He held degrees in chemical engineering and mechanical engineering. As a Navy lieutenant during WWII, Robert Geitz served as a fighter director on a destroyer which was sunk by a kamikaze attack in the battle of Okinawa. Surviving that attack, he served aboard the destroyer Madison in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed. Prior to WWII, Dr. Geitz was involved in research at a primary production facility for the Manhattan Project. In the early 1950s, he worked for Dupont Co. and then Lever Brothers, where he developed and held the basic patent for Dove soap. Dr. Geitz began teaching at STCC in 1968, as chair of the division of math, natural science, and engineering transfer. As president of STCC, he oversaw the design of the engineering and science building Putnam Hall, led the five-year reaccreditation of STCC, created the student development program, merged several administrative offices into an admissions/registration center, and introduced new programs in what became the engineering technologies division. Dr. Geitz was a practicing inventor for most of his life, and was the registered holder for many patents. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he established his own company, Geitz Engineering, in Simsbury, CT. After retiring from STCC, he was a consultant to various companies and educational institutions in the U.S. and Mexico.

 

Dr. Edmond P. Garvey, President 1967-1974

STCC's founding president led a distinguished, wide-ranging career that took him from the military to private industry to education. He was an engineer, an innovator, a teacher, and most importantly, a visionary. Dr. Garvey was head of the quality control division for American Bosch in Springfield in 1940, when he resigned to form a pre-induction training program for the U.S Army Signal Corps at Trade High School. As a radio engineer at the Bosch, he had designed receivers, and held two patents. Dr. Garvey had followed his master's degree in education with graduate work as a Naval student at Harvard's Graduate School of Engineering, and at MIT. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1941 and was called to active duty immediately after Pearl Harbor in 1942, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Garvey served eight years of active duty, also serving as commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Electronics Engineering School at MIT. Following the war, he commanded a Naval Reserve Surface Battalion. In 1950, Dr. Garvey turned to peacetime education, as director of Springfield Trade High School and director of vocational education for the city. In 1964, when Springfield Technical Institute was formed as a post-high-school arm of Trade, he added that responsibility. When Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced the decommissioning of Springfield Armory, Dr. Garvey was appointed to the U.S. Armory Planning Committee to assist in finding a use for the facility. When STCC was established, Dr. Garvey was appointed as its first president on July 1, 1967.