A ‘Jewel’ in Rockland County: New RCC president sets goals on winning national award, attracting int’l students
Dr. Lester Sandres Rápalo, the new president of Rockland Community College, spoke with News 12 Tuesday for his first local interview since taking the job.
He brings 25 years of experience serving in various roles at other higher education institutions to his new role. He also speaks English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
"I took this job with the responsibility and commitment to give back to the students – to give back to the community, and for me being an immigrant, having migrated from Honduras…It is truly a commitment because when I see our students, I see myself," he says.
His goal is to help students achieve success as well as have RCC win the Aspen Prize – a national award given every two years to the country's best community colleges.
First, he says he has been listening, learning and trying to find ways to attract more international students.
"Rockland Community College is not only a beacon of hope, but it's also a community college that truly is a jewel of this area," he said.
Rápalo is the college’s eighth president.