Howard Spearman Named the First African American President of Rock Valley College

The board of trustees of Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, has named Howard Spearman as the college’s eighth president. When he takes office on September 1, he will be the first African American to lead the educational institution.

Rock Valley College is a public, two-year educational institution that enrolls about 6,000 students, according to the latest data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 9 percent of the student body.

Most recently, Dr. Spearman served as the vice president of student affairs and chief student services officer for Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin. From 2011-2019, Dr. Spearman served in several roles at Rock Valley College including vice president of student services, associate vice president for enrollment, retention and student development, and dean of advising and retention.

“I’m thankful the board has put their trust in me,” said Dr. Spearman. “I look forward to leading the campus and engaging the community. It’s an honor to once again be a part of the Golden Eagle family.”

Dr. Spearman is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a Ph.D. from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.


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