President, Quinsigamond Community College
As president of Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), Luis G. Pedraja provides leadership to the College community while working to enhance the College’s mission to address the higher education needs and economic development of its community. He is a passionate advocate for increased access to higher education for all people, especially those who have been underserved historically by the American higher education system. Throughout his career, Dr. Pedraja has focused on Latino perspectives, and has published many books and articles exploring how understanding language and culture can promote intercultural dialogue and tolerance.
As a child, President Pedraja emigrated from Cuba and grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Miami. He became the first in his family to attend college, receiving his BA from Stetson University and earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion from the University of Virginia.
Early in his career, President Pedraja was a Faculty member at both the University of Puget Sound and Southern Methodist University, where he also served as a division chair and faculty senator. Additionally, he served as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at the Memphis Theological Seminary. During this time, Dr. Pedraja mentored Latino graduate students and served as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars in his discipline.
Dr. Pedraja served as Vice President for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education where he developed higher education policy and advocated strategic solutions to a range of challenges including financial, governance, and political crises. While there he advanced universal access to quality higher education by overseeing the accreditation of community colleges and universities from New York to Washington, D.C., and in Puerto Rico. He also led the first program to grant American accreditation to foreign universities and has provided guidance to universities in South America, Asia, and Europe on achieving American higher education standards.
Before coming to QCC, Dr. Pedraja served as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Antioch University in Los Angeles and Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for Peralta Community College District in California.
At QCC, President Pedraja has developed and implemented a collaborative and transparent strategic planning process, created community based learning hubs at 2 locations in Worcester and launched several initiatives to bolster student success at the College. Included among these initiatives are a new mentoring program, creation of a student success center, and a series of professional development seminars for student-centered services.
President Pedraja serves on multiple boards in the region, the state and the nation including United Way, Latino Education Institute, Masshire Central Region Workforce Board, Worcester Regional Research Bureau, and Co-Chair of the Mayoral Commission for Latino Advancement and Education. He was recently appointed to represent the Massachusetts community colleges in the Governor’s newly formed Healthcare Collaborative and serves on the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Commission on Institutional Infrastructure & Technology. Dr. Pedraja lives in Worcester with his wife and daughter.