NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Middlesex County College will start the upcoming academic year with an interim president, following the retirement last June of then President Joann La Perla-Morales.

The college board of trustees appointed Dr. Mark McCormick, college's vice-president of Academic and Student Affairs, to lead the school.

Board members said they will also conduct a national search for a new president.

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During his tenure at the college, McCormick developed a 'one-stop' student service center to handle admissions, registration, financial aid, veteran's services, and career and transfer issues, college officials said.

He also established transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities, and created a program for East Brunswick High School students to earn an associate degree while in high school.

Prior to working at Middlesex County College, McCormick was vice president for Academic Services at Salem Community College, dean of the Division of Business and Technology at Mercer County Community College and was a faculty member at Mercer Community College of Philadelphia, and Peirce College, also in Philadelphia.

He has a doctorate degree in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, a juris doctor degree from New York University School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in French from Davidson College in North Carolina.

La Perla-Morales retired June 30, capping a 50-year career in higher education. She led the school for 13 years, since January 2005, when she was appointed as the sixth president of the Middlesex County College.

College officials said that during her tenure, La Perla-Morales created 55 new academic programs, led efforts for re-accrediation, led 10-year campus master plan effort that qualified for state bonding, and wrote the grant to establish and maintain the Veterans Services Center. She also responded to community needs, offering college facilities during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and again when fire destroyed James Monroe Elementary School in Edison 2016.

She also served on several boards, including New Brunswick Tomorrow, Raritan Bay Medical Center, United Way, the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce Development.