You are here

Dr. David Podell

MassBay Leaders

Dr. David Podell, President of MassBay Community College:

“I’m the luckiest man in the universe, I have to say, because I get to work with fantastic faculty, a dedicated incredible staff, and students who are really looking to move themselves forward. When I came up for an interview at Mass Bay, I was immediately drawn in, because I walked through the halls, and everywhere I looked, there was a tutor and a student, or a professor and a student, sitting together, side-by-side, with a paper in front of them or a laptop. And I thought, this kind of one-to-one teaching, this is what I love. So I came home from the interview and I played my answering machine back, and the message was, you have the job. And I thought, oh my gosh, I can't believe it. So that's what landed me here. ”

“I use the word privilege. It is a privilege to do this job. At graduation, at commencement, the ceremony, we celebrate the students, because they have achieved what they dreamed of. And often with a lot of work on their part. A lot of sacrifices. Many of them have children. Many of them have parents that they take care of, or other family members. 82% have either a part-time or a full-time job. We have students who are attending full-time and working full-time. How do they do it? So they’re making sacrifices, they’re pushing. So our goal is to make it as easy as possible, not academically.”

“They have to meet the high academic standards that our faculty set. But to solve the various financial, practical, pragmatic problems. A lot of our students are one flat tire away from dropping out. We don’t want them to throw up their hands. We want them to finish, to get through, or to achieve whatever goal it is that they may have. The community college student is, in general, extremely different than the student going to a four-year college or particularly, an elite or a private college. Our students, first of all, they don't commit to four years. They commit to a semester because usually that’s what they can afford. Or that’s as far as their planning goes. So each semester, we are drawing them back.”

“You come to our events. Let’s say our donor dinner, where our scholarship recipients meet the donors who gave the scholarship money. And the students tell their story. And each story is more astonishing than the next. Each one is like a lightning bolt, because you hear about the things they had to overcome to get and to stay here. And the gratitude they have to the donors. But the grit that they have, their commitment, is unbelievable. So it’s an enormous privilege to do this job. It’s a great pleasure. And you know, life is short. You want to do something in your life that really matters for as many people as possible, and that’s what I get to do here.”

Dr. David Podell