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Alumnus Named a College President

Congratulations to Luis Pedraja, Ph.D., who recently joined the ranks of Stetson alumni becoming college presidents.

Luis Pedraja, Ph.D., who received his bachelor’s from Stetson in 1984, now is president of Quinsigamond Community College.

With a mid-April inauguration, Pedraja is the new leader of Quinsigamond Community College in Wooster, Massachusetts.

Quinsigamond Community College was established in 1963 to provide residents of Central Massachusetts with access to higher education. Since the early 1960s, enrollment has grown from 300 to more than 13,000 full- and part-time day and evening students.

Pedraja graduated from Stetson in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies after emigrating from Cuba as a child and growing up in a low-income Miami neighborhood. He became the first in his family to attend college. Pedraja earned his doctorate from the University of Virginia in Philosophical Theology and Religious Studies.

Prior to Quinsigamond Community College, Pedraja served as interim vice chancellor of Academic Affairs for California’s 35,000-student Peralta Community College District. From 2011 to 2016, Pedraja was provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Antioch University Los Angeles, a nonprofit institution serving adult students with bachelor-degree completion and professional-graduate programs.

Pedraja served as vice president for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education from 2004 to 2011, where he worked to advance universal access to quality higher education. He oversaw accreditation of community colleges and universities from New York to Washington, D.C., and in Puerto Rico. Pedraja also led the first program to grant American accreditation to foreign universities. Since that time, universities in South America, Asia and Europe have retained him for guidance on achieving American higher education standards.

At Quinsigamond, according to college officials there, Pedraja plans to continue advocating for increased access to higher education for all people, especially those who have been historically underserved by the American higher education system.