Garrett College’s 13th President Feels Truly Fortunate

Fortunately, the 13th president of Garrett College isn’t a bit superstitious.

“I actually feel very lucky,” remarked Dr. Richard Midcap, who became the college’s 13th president in mid-January. “I’m president of a college that’s been embraced by its community and enjoys tremendous support from both the county government and engaged donors. I couldn’t be more pleased to be the president of Garrett College.”

Midcap spent nearly 14 years as a vice president at Chesapeake College, including 13 years in student affairs and one year as the college’s interim vice president for academic affairs. All told, he was at Chesapeake for 23 years in a variety of administrative roles, including dean of students.

“It was a difficult decision to leave Chesapeake, but the opportunity at Garrett College was perfect for me,” said Midcap. “I truly enjoy working at small, rural community colleges where I feel I can really make a difference.”

Midcap said he has spent his early months at Garrett College on “an extended listening tour.”

“No president should come into a college where he has never worked in a region where he has never lived and claim to have a vision for that institution,” said Midcap. “It’s first important to understand the community’s needs and the college’s culture. I’ve dedicated a considerable amount of time listening to political, education, business and community leaders to help me understand our educational and workforce development needs.”

Midcap does have strong views on how Garrett College should meet the needs of the community.

“We must be open, responsive and transparent,” said Midcap. “We need to work closely with a county government that generously funds us and a public school system that provides a significant percent of our enrollment.”

Midcap said the timing of his appointment and Barbara Baker’s selection as superintendent of Garrett County Public Schools created an opportunity for a strengthened partnership.

“Superintendent Baker was the first Garrett County official I contacted after being selected president,” said Midcap. “I feel it’s important for our respective institutions to have a close relationship and I was pleased to find out the superintendent feels the same way.”

Midcap said partnerships with other regional colleges – including Frostburg State University, Allegany College of Maryland and Potomac State College of West Virginia University – is also critical.

“The presidents at Frostburg [Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk], Allegany [Dr. Cynthia Bambara] and Potomac State [Dr. Jennifer Orlikoff] each extended warm welcomes to me,” noted Midcap. “They are anxious to make sure we are partnering in a way that best serves the region, which is exactly how I feel.”

Midcap said a review to determine how the college can better align its programs and services with community needs is being conducted by a newly charged Enrollment Management Committee.

“We need to ensure our programs and services are providing our students with what they are seeking and preparing them for future careers,” said Midcap.

Midcap holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education/history from Salisbury (Md.) University, a master’s degree in history from Washington (Md.) College, and a doctorate in education from Wilmington (Del.) University. He moved to McHenry in January.

“I heard so much about the snow in Garrett County that I decided to leave nothing to chance,” Midcap said with a laugh. “I literally live on the same road as the college.”