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NOVA’s new president celebrates first week in new role

Dr. Scott Ralls officially took the helm, on Sept. 8, as the fifth president of Northern Virginia Community College. Ralls joins one of the largest community colleges in the nation after seven years as president of the 58-campus North Carolina Community College System.

As one of his first “official acts” as president, Ralls addressed NOVA’s 50th Anniversary Gala on Sept. 9, where he stressed the importance of remaining student-focused in all that we do, and remembering that the students are why we are all here. He said he has wanted to get back to a campus for a long time. He has missed the energy that comes from being in the midst of a campus environment.

His role as president of NOVA is no small task. With approximately 75,000 degree students, NOVA is the 11th largest college in the United States and annually awards more associate degrees than any other individual post-secondary institution. NOVA is a recognized leader in student success efforts and STEM education, and was named the number one community college in the Large Colleges category for the 2014-2015 Digital Community Colleges Survey by the Center for Digital Education.

Prior to his time presiding over the North Carolina Community College System, he served as president of Craven Community College and as vice president of Economic and Workforce Development for the state system. During his tenure, North Carolina gained national recognition for innovating student success efforts on a statewide scale, and Ralls was a pioneering leader in the state’s efforts to revamp university articulation agreements and implement Early College High Schools. Today, North Carolina hosts approximately one-third of the early colleges in the United States.

Known as an innovator in workforce development, Ralls led the redesign of North Carolina’s customized job training programs, as well as the overhaul of statewide college financing and curriculum structures to foster stackable industry certification models and prioritize STEM, health care and technical education programs. Four times in recent years he has testified to U.S. Senate and House committees on workforce development and student success innovations.

Dr. Ralls currently serves as co-chair for the Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success, a national effort sponsored by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to advance state policy improvements that promote program completion for community college students.

He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and in 2007 was named an honorary fellow of Warwickshire College in Leamington, England.

Media Contact:  Public Information Office | 703-323-3196 

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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.

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