Middlesex County College president to retire

Joann La Perla-Morales
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Joann La Perla-Morales

EDISON – Joann La Perla-Morales, president of Middlesex County College (MCC), will retire as president effective June 30, capping a 50-year career in higher education.

“Dr. La Perla-Morales has been an integral part of our growth and we wish her well in her retirement,” Dorothy K. Power, chairman of the college board, said in a prepared statement. “On behalf of the board and our entire community, we thank her for her many years of service to Middlesex County and its residents.”

La Perla-Morales became the sixth president of MCC in January of 2005.

“MCC offers a quality, affordable education for students from our county and state. Building on Dr. La Perla-Morales’ work, we are confident that our college will be more equipped than ever to carry out its mission in the years ahead,” Mark Finkelstein, vice chair of the board, said in the statement.

Among many other achievements, La Perla-Morales oversaw creation of 55 new academic programs; led efforts for Middle States Self-Study and Reaccreditation; opened three new LEED-certified buildings; led the campus 10-year Master Plan effort that qualified for state bonding money for South Hall; successfully worked to establish strategic plans every three years with numerous accomplishments; wrote the grant to establish and maintain the Veterans Services Center; and responded to community needs by offering college facilities during Superstorm Sandy and the James Monroe school fire, according to the statement.

Most notably, she kept tuition increases to less than 2 percent for more than 10 years while increasing support for student success, according to the statement.

“My 13 years at Middlesex have been the most professionally rewarding of my life,” La Perla-Morales said in the statement. “To the students, faculty, administration, employees, alumni and board of this great institution, I offer my sincere gratitude for providing me with the opportunity to lead an institution that will only grow stronger.”

La Perla-Morales serves on several boards, including New Brunswick Tomorrow, Raritan Bay Medical Center, United Way, the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce Development, Making It Possible to End Homelessness and the Edison Arts Society.

Prior to joining Middlesex, she had been provost at New York College of Technology, dean of instruction at Nassau Community College, and she held positions at Bloomfield College, Union County College and Rockland Community College.

La Perla-Morales holds a doctorate and master’s degree from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York Oneonta.

The board will announce an interim president in the coming weeks and will begin a national search for a new president shortly, according to the statement.