By Logan Samuels
President Ronald Volpe will pass the torch at the end of this semester, but he is confident in his successor, Dr. Andrea Chapdelaine, and is ready to spend more time with his family.
Ronald Volpe has been the president of Hood College since 2001, but will step down at the end of this semester. This past year has been a whirlwind of activity as R.H. Perry, staff, faculty and students attended various events to find out what Hood College wanted in our next president.
Through careful research and consideration, the search was narrowed to 16 candidates over winter break, and the final three were brought to campus to introduce themselves. It was announced mid-February that Dr. Andrea Chapdelaine would be Hood College’s next president.
President Volpe said he believes that the Board of Trustees made a wise decision in selecting Chapdelaine as the next president. He noted that she is a firm advocate for the liberal arts and has adequate experience as both a faculty member and Chief Academic Officer.
According to President Volpe, Chapdelaine will be able to sustain Hood’s current momentum and will bring a well-rounded passion for teaching and learning, a commitment to students and faculty, and support for a college environment. President Volpe also noted her excitement and her commitment to the mission of Hood.
President Volpe said, “She would really put her heart in Hood and you cannot measure that. She will leave her footprint on this college because she has all the makings of being a good president. I’ve worked for ten presidents. Andrea is the real deal. I’m her biggest cheerleader.”
During his term, President Volpe brought many changes and accomplishments to Hood. He said that he is proud of bringing the college community hope when it was on the verge of closing.
Volpe said, “Give me some time, I have a vision here. We can put together something very special.”
President Volpe was correct, and his hard work has paid off and kept Hood College on the map. However, President Volpe refuses to take all the credit for the college’s progression.
“I haven’t accomplished anything. We have. I’m not one to be about the ‘I’. It’s ‘we, ours, us’. Not ‘me and my’,” Volpe said.
President Volpe is grateful for his time at Hood College and described his position here as a gift.
Volpe said, “I’m delighted that the Hood community trusted me to lead the place and gave me this gift. This presidency is a gift and I feel privileged to have protected this gift and strengthen and nurture it and love it. It’s been my life for 14 years and now I can pass the gift on and it is [Chapdelaine’s] responsibility to continue that circle of growth and loving.”
Volpe shared that he has been through 14 years of commitments and has distributed thousands of diplomas that would not have been possible if Hood College ceased to exist. He said that he was proud to have saved those graduates and future graduates from that terrible loss for our society, had he not gotten this college back on the ground.
With his newfound free time, Volpe shared that he would like to get some reading, writing and traveling done, but that he will remain local and active. He will be serving on some local boards and would like to have some downtime with his family.
Volpe said, “I’m going to spend more time with my family, especially my daughter, Stephanie. [I’m] moving into my new house we just bought. I’m looking forward to being a father and husband again. I might teach a management course or two. I like to say I’m restarting, not retiring. 47 years in higher education started at 22 and going ever since. It’s time to pass the baton. Step back and smell the roses. But it’s been a wonderful, wonderful ride.”
President Volpe said he will miss the students the most. From shaving cream battles to jazz concerts to having lunch in the dining hall, Volpe has been quite active on campus.
He said that he has never missed a performance of Messiah and that he enjoys the students’ events, concerts and athletic games. He has even been a cameo in a few student plays.
“I will by far miss the student life here. It’s kept me going. I enjoy our students so much. That might bring me back to the classroom. Former students on the road, the alumni, I will miss the thousands of hood alums. I’ve visited all over the country, and there are many alums I stay in touch with and they are great, and I will miss them and their support over the years. I’ve seen them in nursing homes, hospital beds and train cars and hood porches. They’re all great. I will miss the students and the alumni,” said Volpe.
President Volpe values his time at Hood, but is ready to relax and spend more time with his family. He feels confident that Dr. Andrea Chapdelaine will be a great president for Hood.
Volpe said, “I will cheer her on, but I will not be looking over her shoulder, but I’ll always be there should she need anything. But when I’m finished, I’m finished. She’s the captain of the ship. Everyone give her an opportunity to be successful. Everyone needs to be patient and supportive. She has the right attitude and energy and heart; you can’t see that kind of thing on a resume, but you can sense it.”