Rockford, Illinois News

Rock Valley College hires first Black president

ROCKFORD – The Rock Valley College Board of Trustees, on Thursday, appointed Dr. Howard J. Spearman as the school’s next president.

The announcement comes after a 7-0 vote that followed a weekslong national search.

Spearman is Rock Valley’s eight president and the first African American to hold the position. He returns to RVC where he previously worked in several leadership roles from 2011-2019.

While at Rock Valley, Spearman was vice president of student services and chief student services officer. His other roles have been vice president of enrollment, retention and student development; dean of advising and retention; director of transfer advising and student success; and manager of academic and transfer advising.

Most recently, he served as vice president of student affairs and chief student services officer at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin, one of sixteen technical colleges under the Wisconsin Technical College system serving 33,000 students.

Spearman has also held roles in higher education at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

In all of his roles, Dr. Spearman has over two decades of higher education experience. Officials say his track-record of leading and implementing successful initiatives is more than proven.

“Dr. Spearman is a proven leader who throughout the search process impressed all members of the search committee and the Board of Trustees with his passion for RVC and the community we serve,” said RVC Trustee Bob Trojan. “We are confident that Dr. Spearman is the person to lead the college in exciting and innovative new directions for years to come.”

Spearman earned a Bachelor of Science from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Master of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Cardinal Stritch University.

“I’m thankful the board has put their trust in me,” said Spearman said. “I look forward to leading the campus and engaging the community. It’s an honor to once again be a part of the Golden Eagle family.”

He currently resides in Winnebago County with his wife, Michelle, and their three sons.

Spearman’s contract will be for four years. He’ll be paid a salary of $210,000. He begins his duties Sept. 1.

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