william heineman


North Shore Community College's fifth president, Dr. William Heineman, delivers his inaugural address after being officially sworn in on Friday. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN – North Shore Community College (NSCC) inaugurated Dr. William Heineman, its fifth president, Friday, with the hopes of a new era of leadership that will take the school through the next decade.

Community leaders, faculty, staff, and students gathered at the school to welcome Heineman to the campus. Included in the inauguration were State Sens. Brendan Crighton, D-Lynn; Joan Lovely, D-Salem; and the members of the board of trustees. Some of them also participated in recording a video message to Heineman. Some who were unable to attend sent their congratulations too.

“Today is a phenomenal day,” said Maria Vega-Viera, vice-chair of NSCC board of trustees, opening the ceremony. “Today we began a new era of leadership that will continue to propel the college over the next decade.”

Wayne Burton, former long-time president of NSCC, gave the reminder that the challenges the community faced have never been more daunting, and the purpose has never been more important for our community. 

“I know NSCC is in good hands,” said Heineman’s immediate predecessor, Patricia Gentile, in her message.

Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson said he was looking forward to many years of partnership with Heineman, and Lynn School Superintendent Patrick Tutwiler said he had already learned a lot from the new president. Lovely, in her video address, said that fostering education among students inspires them to achieve their greatest potential.

“If you need anything, you know how to contact us,” said state Rep. Daniel Cahill, D-Lynn.

Heineman started his inaugural address with a life story. He said that he was raised in the Catholic church and that his mother was a Sunday school teacher, so he, just like his two older brothers, ended up being an altar boy. However, he said the lesson he learned was more than just about the church service.  

“Serving others implies that others are actually important,” he said.

Heineman said that that story of being an altar boy taught him about five things that he was going to address in his inaugural speech: the state of being a student, or apprenticeship, family, community, learning, and service. 

“They are all interconnected,” he said. “It’s most important to recognize that if you take one of those components out, the whole structure starts to fall apart.”

Heineman said he chose the aforementioned five areas specifically, because, for the education to be successful, the students should work hard, and they should have their families’ support, and in the community, people should be committed to serving each other, to create pathways for the students’ futures. 

“Very simply, successful education is a team sport,” said Heineman.

Heineman also said that although education itself was important, in his 50 years of experience, the challenges the students faced most often were non-academic.

“Education, after all, is our craft and we have amazing practitioners here on our staff,” said Heineman.

For that he put forward an idea of viewing a student as a whole at NSCC, including their families too. The students “bring their whole family with them,” he said, and the success of one student has a positive and transformative effect on their families, as well as their failure is a poor return of the families’ investments.

“Focus on students’ families is going to be a priority for this college in the coming years,” said Heineman.

Heineman also focused on serving the needs of the community in preparing highly-skilled professionals that can advance in their careers, and on fostering ties with partners in the community to create clear pathways for the students desiring to advance with their education.

Heineman then said that improving social justice and equity will also be his priority in the coming years, and that he will be focusing on creating a culture that attracts faculty of color and staff to this institution and guarantees they would want to stay there for their whole career. 

Higher education is important for preserving the national core values, he said, in particular, free speech, and to exercise those values in a respectful manner through civil dialogue. Education is also about unearthing new knowledge and sharing it, even if the message is hard to hear.

“We have so much work to do to serve each other better,” said Heineman.

By Oksana Kotkina | May 13, 2022 | Lynn Item

 Oksana Kotkina can be reached at oksana@itemlive.org.

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