With 30 years of experience in higher education and the nonprofit sector, Dr. Meghan Hughes became the fifth president of the Community College of Rhode Island on Feb. 1, 2016. CCRI is the largest community college in New England with four main campuses. The college serves more than 22,000 students annually and boasts more than 68,000 alumni.
In her first three years as president, Hughes has led the implementation of a strategic plan focused on student success. She is committed to providing Rhode Islanders with an outstanding community college education that leads to strong learning outcomes, successful degree attainment and robust labor market outcomes. Hughes has placed closing equity performance gaps at the center of her work. Last year the college marked its highest graduation rate in 18 years and is laser focused on attaining meaningful retention, completion, transfer and employment gains.
Hughes is an Aspen Institute Fellow for Community College Excellence. She was presented with the "Trailblazer in Education" award in 2018 at the Realizing Inspiration & Sustaining Excellence Women's Leadership Conference. Hughes was recognized by the Latino Public Radio Foundation with its Foundation Builder Award in 2016 and by the Rhode Island Foundation with its Community Leader award in 2015. In 2014, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline named Hughes an Outstanding Woman of the Year.
She completed the Harvard Business School’s “Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management” in 2013; was a fellow at the Rhode Island Foundation in 2012; and was a member of the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art’s Board of Governors, where she chaired the Education Committee and was a member of the Executive Committee.
Hughes serves on the boards of the Rhode Island Foundation, Greater Providence Chamber and Year Up Rhode Island. In addition, she is a member of Congressman Cicilline’s Women’s Advisory Council, the Rhode Island Commodores, the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and Employability and the Governor’s Skills Cabinet.
A Rhode Island resident since 1999, Hughes served as executive director of Year Up Rhode Island from 2009 through 2015. During that period she doubled the size of the program, and the Rhode Island site led Year Up nationally in key metrics, including student retention and graduate outcomes. She served on Year Up’s National Senior Leadership Team and National Investment Committee. Prior to joining Year Up, she taught at Tufts University from 2003 to 2009 and received the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Hughes graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a doctorate from New York University.