Regina Curtis retiring as GCC’s exec. director of institutional advancement

  • CURTIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/22/2021 2:58:27 PM

GREENFIELD — Regina Curtis has accumulated a stash of 48 books from second-hand stores. Starting Sept. 1, she’ll have more time to read them.

Curtis is retiring as executive director of institutional advancement at Greenfield Community College on Aug. 31, following 16 years on the job. She has coordinated legislative affairs for the school and overseen its grants office in addition to being the executive director of the GCC Foundation, the college’s nonprofit fundraising arm.

“Community college students stay in their community. They end up living and working within 25 miles, typically. So we are really educating this community’s workforce,” she said. “This college is right where it needs to be.”

Curtis, 62, said she is turning over the legislative affairs to colleague Keith Bailey and new hire Alexis Page is taking the reins of other responsibilities. She said their capabilities have lowered her natural anxiety about leaving the work she has been heavily involved with for so long.

She previously worked for state Rep. Stephen Kulik and plans to take her former employer’s advice on retirement — don’t take on any additional commitments for at least a year. She intends to continue serving on the board of directors for Rural Development Inc., a nonprofit created by the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, but she wants to spend more time walking, hiking, kayaking and visiting her son in North Carolina and stepdaughter in Idaho. She would also like to relearn Spanish and how to knit.

Curtis grew up in the Detroit area, but has lived in Franklin County her entire adult life. Warwick has been her home for decades.

She has worked at the college for 16 years, serving on the GCC Foundation’s board of directors for six years prior to that, including two as president. Before that, she was a campaign volunteer for the school. But that wasn’t her introduction to the college. She graduated in 1986 with an associate’s degree in business when she was 28, having taken night courses for five years while working full-time. The average age of a GCC student is about 27, she said.

Curtis then transferred to North Adams State College (now the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) for another five years to earn a bachelor’s degree, graduating while she was pregnant with her son. She waited four years before pursuing her master’s in business administration over the course of five years.

“I know women who … worked full-time and went to school at night with me and had a baby, but I couldn’t … wrap my mind around that. So I waited until he was 4 and then I started at Fitchburg State College (now University) because,” she said, “I only attend institutions of public higher education in Massachusetts that are off Route 2. It’s like my jam.

“I never didn’t work full-time through all of that,” she added. “It’s just that the trajectory of the career was made possible because of the degrees that I acquired along the way, which was all possible because of GCC. … It is definitely the mission to make higher education accessible to anybody who wants to learn. That’s not the case for many colleges.”

Curtis also said many GCC students are, like her, first-generation college students. She said 48 percent of them transfer to four-year colleges and 25 percent come from Hampshire County.

“I’ve always wondered if, like, there was some magical way we could survey every single employer in Franklin County and find out how many GCC employees (there are),” she mentioned, adding that one-third of Greenfield Savings Bank’s employees are GCC graduates. “That’s pretty remarkable.”

Curtis also said GCC will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.

“GCC and I are about the same age. That’s funny — I never thought of it that way,” she said. “We’ve sort of grown up together.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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