By Erik Squire
Greetings SMCC-ites! We at The Beacon hope you had a lovely Spring Break and a smooth return. Surely some of you saw alligators, skyscrapers, sandy beaches, and (unfortunately) snow. We at The Beacon wished we had been able to see all of these things, although on a positive note, we did get to look a picture of a warm sunset, and that was no small consolation.
The other highlight for The Beacon’s spring break experience was conducting an interview President Interim Derek Langhauser. President Interim Langhauser was selected to hold the down the fort, while the Maine Community College System (MCCS) searches for its next president. In the paragraphs to follow you will learn a little about Langhauser and his vision for the MCCS over the course of the next calendar year.
When I arrived at one of the MCCS offices located here SMCC, I was warmly welcomed by Director of Public Affairs Helen Pelletier, who had been kind enough to set up the meeting. She ushered me into Interim President Langhauser’s office where I was received with a firm handshake. Langhauser expressed that he was pleased with the work that was being done at The Beacon and with the fact that its writers and staff made the time to voluntarily produce our work. I then proceeded to ask a few questions of Langhauser; I queried about his history and what his new duties were as interim president.
Langhauser graduated from Bates College in 1984 and in 1987 he earned his JD from the University of Maine School of Law.
In Langhauser’s biography (which was produced by the MCCS) it states:
“Mr. Langhauser has served as General Counsel and a senior member of the MCCS leadership team for the past 20 years.
As MCCS General Counsel, Mr. Langhauser oversees student, employee, and corporate legal affairs, emergency management, statutory and regulatory compliance, and risk management. He also oversees the development and implementation of MCCS policies, procedures, and legislation. In 2013, he served as the System’s Acting Director of Human Resources.”
A nationally recognized expert in higher education law, Mr. Langhauser has served as president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, as an advisor to the Ford Foundation Initiative on Academic Freedom, and as chair of The Journal of College and University Law Board of Editors (Notre Dame University).”
Last month Langhauser was inducted as interim president and he has been very busy ever since. Advocating and promoting the MCC System is a large part of the interim president’s responsibility. He represents our community college system before both the State Legislator and before the Maine community. Langhauser is working to ensure that the system is continually funded and that the Foundation (SMCC’s source of scholarships) is sustained.
As an example of Langhauser’s sincere dedication and advocacy for students, staff, and faculty, I have included in this article an excerpt from Langhauser’s address to the 127th Maine Legislature. Langhauser is quoted as follows:
“For the 18,000 students who seek a low-cost college degree? These are the hard-working people who need us to access immediate employment, or to reach for an additional degree that opens the door to a more prosperous future.
For the thousands of additional Maine people who rely on our colleges for the affordable chance to upgrade their job skills and access valuable non-credit courses? These are the hard-working people who need us to help them build their own career path, at their own pace.
And the State of Maine? Clearly, our economy needs more businesses thriving and more people working at higher wages.
From these observations, I am reminded of the dignity in work; of the dignity in having a meaningful opportunity to strive and achieve. All of the people who I reference here this morning — all of the people who our community colleges serve — these are our striving neighbors and friends. They want and need access to the community colleges’ low-cost, high quality education and training because it both promises, and delivers a direct return.
They ask for nothing more, and they deserve nothing less. I look forward to working with you on their behalf.”
We are fortunate to have Interim President Derek Langhauser serving and working on our team. ‘Til The Beacon’s next publication, farewell SMCC and stay warm.