Ellen Kennedy, the president of Berkshire Community College, has been selected as the 2013 Woman of Achievement by Berkshire Business and Professional Women.
She was honored at a dinner which took place on Monday at the Country Club of Pittsfield.
The award, in its 49th year, honors a Berkshire County woman for her achievements and commitment to the community. Kennedy, who has served as BCC's president since June 2012, was nominated for the award by some of her colleagues.
"I am lucky to work at an institution where I am surrounded by incredibly smart and dedicated people on a daily basis," Kennedy said. "I am touched that my colleagues nominated me for this award. Much of my life has been spent living and working in the Berkshires. I'm pleased that BCC can play an important role in advancing the economic vitality of the Berkshires."
Kennedy joined BCC in 2008 as chief financial officer and dean of administration and finance, and was named president following Dr. Paul Raverta's retirement. Since assuming her leadership at BCC, Kennedy has overseen the planning for a $23 million bond from the commonwealth to renovate the college's main academic buildings, which, when completed, will completely transform the main campus.
In addition, she spearheaded a unique partnership with Taconic High School in Pittsfield in the area of advanced manufacturing for the benefit of both BCC and high school students. She has also forged the relationship between the college's Berkshire Enterprise program and 1Berkshire, the county's leading economic development agency, expanding services to local businesses in obtaining workforce training fund grants.
Kennedy is revered for her passionate commitment -- not only to BCC, but the community college mission, and to increasing access to higher education for underserved individuals and communities.
"I am humbled by the accomplishments of Ellen Kennedy," said Kim Baker, chairwoman of BBPW's Woman of Achievement Committee. "She is a great asset for Berkshire Community College and our community."
Prior to joining BCC, Kennedy worked for more than 20 years in various positions of increased authority at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, including chief advancement officer, and president of the MCLA Foundation. She worked as the chief operating officer at the National Patient Safety Foundation, leading the organization's relocation of its principal office.
She holds a doctorate from Northeastern University, a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and MBA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the former North Adams State College, now MCLA.
An active community participant, Kennedy serves on the board of trustees of Berkshire Health Systems and is a member of the board of directors for the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Inc.; the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board; and the Executive Committee of the Berkshire Compact for Education. She also serves on the city of Pittsfield's School Building Needs Committee.
Kennedy resides in Williamstown with her husband, Mark. Her son John is a senior in college. For more information about the dinner honoring Kennedy, visit www.berkshirebpw.org.