On Thursday, December 9, the Champlain community learned the exciting news that Alejandro (“Alex”) Hernandez has been named the tenth President of Champlain College. The news was shared by Judy O’Connell, Chair of Champlain’s Board of Trustees.

Alex currently serves as the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) and Vice Provost of Online Learning at the University of Virginia. He will begin his new role on June 6, 2022 and relocate to Burlington this summer. 

Champlain College Board of Trustees Chair Judy O’Connell shared: “We are excited to welcome Alex Hernandez to Champlain as our next President. Alex brings to Champlain a strong track record of education innovation and a passion for changing lives through career-focused education, strengths that will help Champlain successfully navigate today’s higher education landscape. This fall, the Board approved the Re-Evolutionary Champlain 2030 strategic plan, which was created by the Champlain community as a roadmap for the College in the years ahead. We believe Alex is the right leader to bring to life the goals set forth in the plan, which include launching innovative, career-focused programs, reaching diverse student populations, and building partnerships that help Vermont thrive.”

Throughout his career, Alex has championed new education models that expand access and lead to better outcomes for students. In his current role at UVA, he has grown programs that combine in-demand digital skills with the deeper human skills needed for long-term career success and formed partnerships that allow more students to pursue a college education.

Before joining UVA, Hernandez worked for the Charter School Growth Fund, a national education foundation, where he built  the nonprofit’s Innovative Schools practice, one of the largest efforts in the country focused on personalized learning and career readiness. Hernandez began his career in education teaching high school mathematics in South Los Angeles. He later became an administrator for Portland Public Schools in Oregon and then an area superintendent for Aspire Public Schools in California. Prior to entering the field of education, he worked at Steamboat Ventures, Disney’s venture capital arm, and at J.P. Morgan. Hernandez has an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University and a BA from Claremont McKenna College. 

Hernandez said, “It is a tremendous honor to lead Champlain College. This is a time when higher education is being challenged on all sides, yet we know education is the most powerful way for students to launch successful careers and lead meaning-filled lives. Champlain College has a rock solid core, a long and revered history of career-forward education, and an inspiring vision for the future guided by the Champlain 2030 strategic plan. Champlain’s mission resonates strongly with me both personally and professionally, and I’m excited to work with the community to build on its success and momentum.” 

The Board of Trustees and Champlain community expressed thanks to David Finney, Champlain College President Emeritus, for his service as Interim President since June 1, 2021. Finney also served as the College’s seventh President of Champlain College between 2005 and 2014. Finney shared, “I’m thrilled Alex Hernandez will be Champlain’s next President. Champlain has an important role to help Burlington and Vermont thrive and I am excited about Alex’s track record of creating partnerships that drive economic opportunity.”

Hernandez’s family journeyed from Mexico and the Philippines, and, at each step of the way, education brought opportunity—through skilled trades, nursing certificates, public education credentials, and degrees. Seeking a meaningful yet less traditional path, Hernandez left a career in finance to become a high school math teacher in south Los Angeles and has worked in education ever since. His professional success is driven by his belief in the possibilities education can provide for students of all ages and walks of life. Alex will be joined in Vermont by his wife Michelle.

For more information about Hernandez, please visit champlain.edu/president.

Kaylee Sullivan

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