The ceremony will take place in MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center. A reception will immediately follow the inauguration in the Slemp Commons. Invited guests, students, and members of the public are asked to RSVP their attendance at www.mecc.edu/inauguration.
Those that cannot attend are encouraged to view a live stream of the inauguration from MECC’s Facebook page, @mountainempirecollege. The ceremony will also be broadcast on Wise County’s Public Access Channel 6 on Comcast Cable.
The inauguration event will be held in coordination with the college’s annual Home Craft Days Festival. A free concert celebrating the festival and inauguration will be held Friday, October 19 at 6 p.m. in the Goodloe Center featuring Wayne Henderson & Helen White, John McCutcheon, and Joe Newberry & Mike Compton.
As a high school dropout who obtained her GED and held numerous labor-intensive positions before finding the courage to seek education, Dr. Kristen Westover first gained a love and appreciation for the community college mission through her own life-changing experience at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. There she experienced an education delivered through support, encouragement and high expectations, quickly recognizing her passion and purpose are grounded in creating those same experiences for others, particularly those who may not have a history of positive educational opportunities.
Dr. Westover began her educational career over 25 years ago, serving as a high school math and computer science teacher and middle school coach. After 10 years in the high school setting, she seized the opportunity to serve as a faculty member at Colby Community College, her alma matter. After teaching at the college level for a few years, she shifted into administrative work, serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the same college. Dr. Westover also served at the Kansas Board of Regents, where she was the Director of Technical Programs and Curriculum, and as the Program Coordinator for the national initiatives leadership team for the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
Having spent most of her life in a rural setting, Dr. Westover felt a connection to the people of Southwest Virginia during her first visit to the region in 2013. She made the connection official when she agreed to serve as Mountain Empire Community College’s seventh president in July of 2017. She came to Mountain Empire from Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia where she served for six years as the Vice President for Academic and Student Development Services.
Dr. Westover holds an A.S. from Colby Community College, a B.S. in mathematics and a M.S. in instructional technology from Fort Hays State University, and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Westover and her husband Mark live in Lee County Virginia. They both love animals and enjoy everything Southwest Virginia has to offer, including motorcycling, golf, hiking, music and art.
For more information on Mountain Empire Community College, or the inauguration ceremony, visit the college’s website at www.mecc.edu or www.mecc.edu/inauguration or call 276.523.2400.