A former president of Maine community colleges will serve as the interim president of the University of Maine at Machias.

Dr. Joyce B. Hedlund will start serving in the position on Jan. 5 and stay until a permanent president is named, the University of Maine System announced Friday.

She replaces Cynthia Huggins, who is retiring this month after 10 years as the president of the Washington County university.

Hedlund is the former president of Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor and Washington County Community College in Calais.

She spent 20 years in those positions and focused on the colleges’ roles in supporting economic growth in their regions, according to a press release from UMS.

“Every higher education institution must be mission driven and financially sound,” Hedlund said in a prepared statement. “The mission of a four-year university and that of a two-year community college are distinctly different and their reasons for existing are different. Washington County needs both types of institutions in order to support the development of an educated citizen, a major ingredient for economic and community development.”

A graduate of the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Hedlund has a doctorate in education. She has previously worked in the University of Maine System as director of admissions at Fort Kent and associate dean of students at Orono.

“Dr. Joyce Hedlund brings to Machias a record of accomplishment in public higher education,” UMS Chancellor James Page said in the press release. “She has worked on the front lines at universities and colleges in Maine, helping to make higher education available and accessible to the people of our state. Her experience in education, her ties to Downeast Maine, and her commitment to public service are what is needed to move the University of Maine at Machias forward.”

Hedlund lives in Perry with her husband.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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