Colleen Hartfield of Raymond, vice president for Community Relations and Governmental Affairs, will retire June 30 with a combined 18 years of service to Hinds Community College.
She was first hired as assistant director of Public Relations in 1984 and was promoted to district director of Public Relations a year later. She left the college in 1992 and spent 14 years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where she rose in the ranks to vice president for Institutional Relations.
In her early days at Hinds, [tweetable alt=””]Hartfield organized the first statewide Community College Month celebration.[/tweetable] In 1991, she was one of the youngest people to ever receive the college’s 3E Award, the most prestigious award Hinds gives. With the guidance and support of Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, she began working with the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) on its legislative program.
“Colleen served the entire Mississippi community college system in legislative affairs at the state and national levels. Her ability to craft communication pieces and organize the advocacy efforts for 15 colleges helped to secure funding and develop policy that advanced community colleges,” Muse said.
When she returned to Hinds in 2006, Hartfield assumed President Cabinet level responsibilities for Public Relations, Marketing, Publications, Sports Information, Web Communications and Governmental Affairs.
“I feel very fortunate to have started and ended my career at Hinds, working with Dr. Muse,” Hartfield said. “During the years at Gulf Coast, I continued to work with him on community college legislative efforts, so the Hinds connection was never lost.”
While managing internal and external communications for the college, Hartfield’s role expanded as the needs of the college and its service district changed. She initiated the college’s first grants office in 2009 and worked to bring millions of dollars in external funding to Hinds. In addition, she took on the leadership role for Adult Education and worked determinedly to strengthen and expand the services the college provides to adult learners through the statewide dropout recovery initiative, which has evolved into the MI-BEST program.
In 2014, she worked closely with Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for Workforce Development and Career/Technical Education, to help Mississippi land the state’s largest economic development package, Continental Tire.
“Colleen always understood the changing needs of our students and community. Because of her leadership and support, the college was able to secure national, state, regional and private resources and engage in community partnership that increased the student’s ability to succeed,” Stocks said. “Because of her work, our students have more opportunity than ever before and our programs have been able to experience national recognition.”
She is a graduate of the Mississippi State University’s Community College Leadership Program and the MSU Education Policy Fellowship Program. In 2015 she was recognized by the Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network with its Leadership Award.
Jackie Granberry, vice president for Advancement, will assume responsibility for areas currently under Hartfield’s responsibility, with one exception. The grants office of the college will be administered by Russell Shaw, vice president for Business Services.
“Colleen has been a regular contributor to all activities of the Foundation, including establishing the Kay Cliffe Memorial Hinds Connection Award and the Kay Cliffe Memorial Scholarship, named in memory of her youngest sister, a 1990 graduate of Hinds,” Granberry said.
“She has been the go-to person for so many of us. Whether it was to write a speech, edit a proposal or develop an idea, she was always available and willing to help,” Granberry said. “She has always been professional. In everything that she did, she had the college’s best interest at heart.
Her plans for retirement include staying involved with Hinds and helping with the upcoming Centennial celebration. She will also continue to serve on the board for Second Chance Mississippi, the non-profit started by Dickie Scruggs to support Adult Education programs at Mississippi’s community colleges.
“In retrospect, the most meaningful accomplishments of my time at Hinds have been efforts to expand access to higher education to people desiring a better life for themselves and their families. It’s been a privilege to work with creative and committed colleagues who helped to make that possible,” Hartfield said.
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2015. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.