New England College Celebrates Inauguration of President Wayne F. Lesperance, Jr.
Dr. Lesperance becomes the College’s 16th president and first Hispanic president.
On Saturday, September 30, Dr. Wayne F. Lesperance, Jr. officially took the podium as New England College’s 16th president and first Hispanic president. He became interim president in September of 2022 and was named president in December of 2022. He was inaugurated Saturday in a ceremony that coincided with NEC’s Fall Festival weekend for alumni, parents, and friends of the College.
The inauguration ceremony was held in the Rosamond Page Putnam Center for the Performing Arts on NEC’s campus in Henniker. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members attended the milestone celebration. Guest speakers included Chairman of the Board of Trustees Lex Scourby ’75, Trustee Adam Kapner ’02, President of the Alumni Association Louis Pakula ’85, Dean of Humanities Andrew Morgan, Director of Academic Advising Elizabeth Brennan ’19, Campus Compact of New Hampshire Executive Director Deborah Scire EdD ’17, and Dr. Lesperance’s mother Manuela Bohling and aunt Carmen Kusiak.
“NEC has done well in navigating the challenges facing higher education,” Lesperance said in his inauguration address. “Going forward, we must continue to make good progress in our enrollment, retention and graduation rates; strengthen our commitment to students to prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow; and work every day to instill a sense of pride in our College. I commit to leading New England College with positivity, transparency, support and, most of all, service.”
Before being named Interim President last year, Dr. Lesperance served as professor and as part of the College’s administration. He joined NEC in 1999 and relished his role as Professor of Political Science for 17 years. He transitioned to administrative roles in 2016 when he became Dean of Residential Undergraduate Programs. He also served as Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost.
“The staff of New England College is excited to work hand in hand with Dr. Lesperance to achieve a future filled with progress, collaboration, and achievement,” stated Elizabeth Brennan, Director of Academic Advising. “Together, we can continue to make New England College a place of inspiration and growth for all.”
Lesperance acknowledged and thanked those who have played an important role in his life. “I’ve always believed in the adage that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and there are many shoulders in my case,” Lesperance told the audience. “From mi familia in Puerto Rico who taught me curiosity, respect and courage to my high school teachers who instilled in me a passion for America’s civic heritage, from college professors to my wife who is my rock and my daughter who is my joy. I thank them all for their support, encouragement and generosity.”
Those in attendance were then invited to a community celebration dinner, featuring Puerto Rican fare, on the lawn of the Simon Building, live music by the Jimmy Buffett tribute band Changes in Latitudes, and a fireworks finale.
In honor of his new role, Dr. Lesperance received a commendation from N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu; congratulations from N.H. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen; congratulations from Va. Gov. Glenn Youngkin; a proclamation from Virginia Beach, Va. Mayor Robert Dyer and messages of congratulations from peer institutions.