May 22, 2023 (Lakewood, CO) – Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) president Dr. Michele Haney announced she will retire in January 2024, culminating a 15-year tenure and a 31-year career with the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). One of the largest colleges in CCCS, RRCC serves about 10,000 students across its two campuses in Lakewood and Arvada each year.
“This has not been an easy decision, because I love what we do and I am so proud of this institution,” Dr. Haney said. “I have been honored to serve with excellent instructors and faculty members, work alongside committed staff and administrators, and watch our students enrich their lives through our education and training. While I will be sad to part with the RRCC community, I know the college has a bright future ahead.”
Dr. Haney has set the bar high for higher education leaders across Colorado and will be deeply missed.” – Chancellor Joe Garcia
Joe Garcia, chancellor of the CCCS, praised Dr. Haney’s devotion to community colleges and Colorado students.
“Dr. Haney is not only an innovative and effective leader—she truly cares about every student who walks on campus and inspires others to do the same,” Chancellor Garcia said. “Over her decades-long career as a college president, she has rolled out cutting-edge academic programs, brought in wraparound supports for students, and forged deep relationships with Colorado business and industry. She has set the bar high for higher education leaders across Colorado and will be deeply missed.”
Dr. Haney has served as RRCC president since January 2008, spearheading a successful philanthropic campaign to build the Arvada campus and overhauling the college’s academic and training options. Under her tenure, RRCC became the first community college in the country to offer a master’s degree, launching a Physician Assistant Studies program that celebrated its first graduate in 2019. The college was also an early adopter of Bachelor’s of Applied Science degrees, creating programs in water quality management and secure software development that align with local workforce demands.
In recent years, Dr. Haney has positioned RRCC as a premier regional partner. In 2021, she helped launch the Mines Academy, which guarantees RRCC students admission to any four-year degree program at the prestigious Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Haney also worked with Northrop Grumman to launch the first government-recognized cybersecurity apprenticeship in Colorado in 2019.
Dr. Haney has dedicated her career to serving CCCS. Prior to joining RRCC, she was the president of Morgan Community College from 2003 to 2008 and served as vice president for instruction and student services and chief academic officer at Front Range Community College from 1992 to 2003.
Among many accolades, Dr. Haney has received the Shirley B. Gordon Award from Phi Theta Kappa; a Women in Business award from Denver Business Journal; and was named a “Leader Among Leaders” and “Woman of the Year” by the American Association of Women in Community Colleges and the City of Westminster, respectively. CCCS students also voted her as “President of the Year” in 2019.
Outside RRCC, Dr. Haney has served on the Westminster City Council and is the author of three books, published in English, German, Japanese, Finnish, Chinese, Polish, and Arabic.
CCCS will announce details about the search for RRCC’s next president, including how the community can participate, in the coming weeks.
Since 1969, Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) has supported students in meeting ambitious career and education goals in an exciting, collaborative environment with multiple pathways to success. We deliver career enhancing courses, certificate programs, and degrees that invest in each student’s personal and professional development. Learn more at https://www.rrcc.edu/.
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 115,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 35 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college. Learn more at www.cccs.edu.