Granite State College: University System of New Hampshire

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Granite State College President Receives 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Source: MassBay Community College Newsletter, Spring 2011

When Todd Leach first came to MassBay in 1978, he wasn’t sure he was ready for college.  In fact, he says he never originally intended to go to college at all.   However, since his first college experience at MassBay, he has gone on to earn his Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and a Ph.D. It seems safe to say he was ready and able!  Today,  Dr. Leach is completing his first year as President of Granite State College in Concord, New Hampshire.

“What MassBay did for me,” says President Leach, “was to show me that I could actually do college work. It is because of my experience at MassBay that I realized college work was achievable.”

However, all was not smooth when he came to campus  at  a  friend’s  suggestion  in  1978  to  take his first college-level class, an evening accounting course.  “It got to the end of the course,” he recalls, “and I was ready for the final exam, but I was still relieved when my friend reminded me there was a study week leading up to the exam.   So we spent that  week  cruising around in his GTO, but then I later learned there was no study week for evening students.”

The experience, he says, taught him three things, “Number one, keep your own calendar.   Number two, GTOs are pretty fast cars. Number three, college work was something I was fully capable of.”

His experience at MassBay also “introduced me to the concept of driving your own future,” he says. “There were lots of different paths and options to choose from.   And there was really a strong community feeling to (MassBay) that supported self-discovery.”

After  graduating  with  high  honors  with  an Associate  in  Science  Degree  in  General Business, Dr. Leach transferred his credits to a Bachelor’s program at Worcester State.   He next went on to Bentley University for his M.B.A.   He decided he was interested in teaching, so he taught part-time classes at MassBay and at Newberry College, before taking a faculty position at Lasell College, which he held for 10 years.  He left Lasell for a senior administrative post at Northeastern, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society. He began his tenure as President of Granite State July 1, 2010.

With nine locations throughout New Hampshire, Granite State College offers Associate and Bachelor Degrees.   And now, for the first time in its history, under the leadership of Dr. Leach, the College is now offering its first Master’s degree program in Project Management.

“I’ve really hit the ground running here (at Granite State),” says Dr. Leach, who noted that applications have increased by more than 40 percent over the last year.  “Our College’s mission is similar to MassBay’s, which is to focus on access. Access to higher education is more important than ever before.”

Dr. Leach encourages MassBay students and graduates “not to limit yourselves. When I was at
MassBay, it was a common feeling that we may be doing well at MassBay, but will it really prepare me for the Baccalaureate level? For me, it certainly did.  MassBay prepared me well for that progression.”