Campus & Community

Vallejo shares vision for Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves campuses

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From left: Stephanie Busin, board member for Hendry County schools, Dr. Maria Vallejo and Karen McCarthy, co-owner of Glades Gas & Electric Company

A crowd of more than 80 Palm Beach State College members and community leaders in the Glades gathered Tuesday to officially welcome Dr. Maria Vallejo to the Belle Glade campus during a reception and luncheon at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center.

The PBSC Foundation sponsored the event to introduce Vallejo, who was recently appointed as the new vice president for growth and expansion and provost of the Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves campuses. She previously served as provost of the Lake Worth campus for the past 17 years.

Vallejo began by saying how she first came to the United States as an immigrant who didn’t know English trying to adapt to a life in New York City.

“I really had quite an experience adjusting,” said Vallejo. “I think that not only did the experience teach me resiliency, patience and stick-to-itiveness, it has helped me to understand our students. They, like me, just want an opportunity. They want to find a place that accepts them and welcomes them and tells them that they can do it.”

In her new role, Vallejo hopes to continue to make students feel welcome and give them every resource available to help them meet their educational goals.

She then stated that she had made one of her first important strategic goals for both campuses by appointing Dr. Roy Vargas, the dean of academic affairs for the Belle Glade campus, to also oversee academic affairs for the Loxahatchee Groves campus.

The first building of the Loxahatchee Groves campus is slated to open in the fall. A complete schedule of courses will begin in January 2017.

“We don’t want our campuses competing,” said Vallejo. “We want them to share resources, to share faculty and staff if possible. Having one person to fulfill the provost role and one for the academic affairs role for both campuses is going to make a big statement as to what we are all about. This will really help our institution so that one campus does not take away from another. We want both campuses to focus on the big picture of what this county needs.”

Vallejo also announced that she would be forming a provost advisory committee and called on those in attendance and in the community to give the group continuous feedback so that they can better develop the campuses’ strategic visions.

Among the attendees was PBSC President Ava L. Parker, who thanked those who came to support Vallejo and reiterated that the Belle Glade campus was moving forward.

“We are here to stay,” said Parker. “We are committed to the success of this community and are looking forward to developing new partnerships, as well as develop new programs that will make a positive impact on local businesses and organizations.”

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