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Cecil County Life

Bolt leads Cecil College into the future

Oct 29, 2015 01:55PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Steven Hoffman, Staff Writer

During the ten years that Dr. Mary Way Bolt served as vice president of academic programs, Cecil College expanded the degree programs it offers and increased the number of course offerings with a total of 89 new programs. She was part of an administrative team that added new continuing education opportunities in workforce development and STEM programming for students. The college introduced destination summer camps. Bolt also helped develop numerous partnerships with businesses and universities to support the economic development needs of the Cecil County region. So when Cecil College launched a search for a new president in March, Bolt was already positioned as one of the college’s most capable advocates. As a lifelong Cecil County resident, she knew the merits of the school, understood the needs of the region, and had plenty of ideas as to how Cecil College could meet those needs in the future.

On July 30, after an eight-person search committee completed a process that included 77 applicants from 27 states, the Cecil College Board of Trustees unanimously selected Bolt as the person to provide leadership as Cecil College continues to evolve. She is the fifth president in the college’s 47-year history.

"I am confident the board has chosen the most qualified candidate to serve as our new president," said Sarah Colenda, the chairperson of the Cecil College Board of Trustees. "Dr. Mary Way Bolt has a complete understanding of the importance and impact our college has in our community. She is strongly committed to excellence, the success of our students, and Cecil College’s future growth."

Donna Horgan, a member of the board of trustees, talked about how Bolt’s strong ties to the community made her a good candidate to lead Cecil College.

"I thought a big plus was that she was born and raised in Cecil County," explained Horgan. "We needed somebody to hit the ground running, and she knows this community."

Raymond "Chick" Hamm, also a member of the board of trustees, said that Bolt has demonstrated a real passion for the mission of the college during her nearly 25 years serving the college in various roles.

At the time of her appointment as president, Way talked about being chosen to lead Cecil College.

"I am honored to serve as Cecil College’s fifth president and proud to lead an institution that is highly regarded throughout the region," she said. "We are recognized for our commitment to students, our academic excellence, and our dedicated faculty and staff. As we move forward, Cecil College will extend our reach to make certain we play an integral role in economic development, service to the community, and the support of each student."

Colenda said that in addition to academic leadership, Bolt will be working to strengthen partnerships in the community.

"As president of Cecil College, Dr. Bolt will provide leadership and direction to the college’s staff and faculty," Colenda said. "She will continue to work with the community and the county and state governments to ensure the college provides affordable and the highest quality education possible to the students."

Bolt has deep Cecil County roots, and is very involved in the community. She serves on the Union Hospital’s board of of directors as chair of the Board Quality Committee. She is a member of the Cecil County Economic Development Commission, the Local Management Board, the Upper Shore Regional Council’s Executive Board, the Army Alliance, the Northeast Maryland Technology Council, and the Susquehanna Workforce Network Board.

Bolt’s involvement with Cecil College dates back to when she earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Cecil College. She then completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She was subsequently awarded a master’s degree in community health nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and received a doctoral degree in higher education and leadership from Widener University. Her post-doctoral studies included the Harvard University Management Development Program. As a one-time student at the school, she knows how it can set people on the path to a career. According to Bolt, the story of Cecil College is best explained by talking to the students because they are the ones who see their lives changed by its academic programs. One of Bolt’s ongoing goals will be to keep the focus on students and their educational needs.

"We’re looking at apprenticeships and other new programs that will help students as they enter the workforce," Bolt explained.

Bolt added that she will support the efforts of Cecil College’s educators, whom she called the face of the college.

As Bolt began her tenure as president, optimism abounded. Wyatt Wallace, a member of the board of trustees, explained that Cecil County residents need economic opportunities, and Cecil College can play a vital role by providing them with the education they need to advance their careers.

"I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for Cecil College to continue its service to the community," Wallace said.

In Bolt, Cecil College has a leader who is a longtime advocate for community colleges. She has served as the chair of Maryland Community College’s Chief Academic Officer Association and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges Legislative Committee. She was also the secretary for the Maryland Board of Nursing and on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Governance and Leadership Committee.

Bolt believes that Cecil College will play an important role in the economic development of Cecil County. To accomplish this, she will work with local business leaders and government officials to make sure that Cecil College is meeting the needs of the community. She said that she is fully committed to the mission of the community college.

"We want Cecil College to continue to be a big part of the future of the county," Bolt said.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email

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