The Community Connection
‘Inspire, lead, transform’
Bastecki-Perez inaugurated as sixth MCCC president
BLUE BELL » Friday marked a momentous occasion for Montgomery County Community College President Victoria Bastecki-Perez.
While she was initially appointed to serve in the community college’s top leadership position nearly a year ago, it was made official Friday afternoon at the Blue Bell campus.
“It’s really important during this time that we all come together, and I am leading this institution not only of mind, but with heart,” Bastecki-Perez told MediaNews Group.
A number of federal, state and local legislators, as well as other education officials participated in a socially distanced outdoor ceremony in the parking lot, located at 340 Dekalb Pike.
Basteck-Perez expressed her heartfelt gratitude to her friends, family, colleagues, and others who helped get her to this point in her professional career.
“I’m truly honored and privileged to take this appointment with a serious sense of purpose, a serious sense of passion, and it’s going to be an emotional moment,” she said in an interview prior to the inauguration. “It’s going to be a celebratory moment, but it’s also a time of gratitude, and a time that I can publicly thank everyone.”
To finally reach this milestone is something of an “emotional” moment for the Perkiomenville resident.
“It’s a time where dreams come true,” she said. “Being a first generation college educated individual, I knew early on as a child from my parents that higher education was an opportunity to change my life, change my brother’s life. But I also knew that it came with a sense of expectation and purpose of service to not take that lightly, that opportunity lightly.”
Originally from Allegheny Township in Westmoreland County, Bastecki-Perez received a bachelor’s degree in education from Edinboro University. She went on to study at the University of Pittsburgh and earn a masters and doctorate degrees in “instructional design and technology, with a focus in visual literacy.”
But it was an interaction with a professor at the Pittsburgh university that Bastecki-Perez said
had a profound impact on her professional life.
After spending much of her life in western Pennsylvania, she traveled east.
“...Per happenstance, I found Montgomery County Community College, and I don’t see it as an accident, I see it as a destiny,” Bastecki-Perez said.
In her 25-year tenure at the Montgomery County educational institution, Bastecki-Perez worked her way up from a director to dean to associate vice president to vice president. She was selected as the interim president in 2019 and appointed president on May 18, 2020.
It was a role she assumed in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s really been an extraordinary time, because we are such a strong organization during the pandemic,” Bastecki-Perez said. “Within two weeks, we were able to mobilize together as a family and be able to ensure continuity of instruction, services and operation within a two-week period of time.”
Touting the college’s reputation for stellar online learning, professors and instructors moved their classes completely online amid health and safety restrictions associated with the public health crisis. There were also financial, educational and mental health services made available to students.
“We continued our momentum in providing each student with the opportunity to succeed while also investing for the future,” she said.
Bastecki-Perez said she was most proud of how the “Montco family” were united, and “came together to meet the challenge as one.”
That family included members of the college’s board of trustees, faculty, staff, administration, students, and alumni.
Community college stakeholders joined forces with Montgomery County as the Blue Bell campus’ parking lot and gymnasium were transformed into a COVID-19 testing center and vaccination clinic, respectively.
“It is a critical partnership that we ... are truly ‘the community’s college,’ and that’s at all ages and all stages of life,” she said.
Montgomery County Community College has hosted American Red Cross blood drives at the Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, according to Bastecki-Perez, who added that the facility has also acted as a voter registration center and polling place for the election.
“There are so many ways that the college has been a partner, and continues to support our residents, and our county to make sure that we are serving up to our mission of being truly our community’s college, a solution not only during a pandemic, but today, and in the future,” she said.
Looking ahead to the future, Bastecki-Perez emphasized the importance of improving upon the college’s established principles to inspire, lead and transform.
“It’s a very exciting time in the history of the college,” she said.
Bastecki-Perez stressed the need to continue advancements in achieving opportunities for all students.
“An important part of my platform as president is equity, diversity and inclusion,” she said.
“While we’ve been recognized, and we’ve been working on closing these equity gaps for many years, there’s still work to be done,” Bastecki-Perez went on to say. “So it’s really important to me that we continue to have a keen focus on all students and their success.”
Officials are in the process of examining the mission and vision statements as two long-term outlines are up for review: the 20232027 strategic plan and the 2023-2033 facilities master plan.
“We are really deeply looking at and reflecting on the values of our organization, and we’ll be bringing those values to our board of trustees by academic year end to approve a new set of values so that we can act upon and recognize our past, our present, but again, looking to the future, and … how we serve our students, our communities and each other as employees,” she said.
Bastecki-Perez spotlighted innovation efforts, referring to the upcoming launch of the Challenger Learning Center at the Pottstown campus. The facility, which is set to open this fall, will offer science, math, engineering and technological instruction.
Bastecki-Perez launched Monty’s Book Club earlier this week. The initiative aims to donate books to public and private elementary school libraries across Montgomery County. She’s spotlighting “I Believe I can,” written by Grace Byers and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, sharing that “I know I can do anything if only I believe I can” is her favorite line.
As Bastecki-Perez embarks on her journey, she said she’s looking forward to continuing to serve along with fellow administrative members, faculty, and students.
“It’s about inspiring, leading and transforming into the future together, and I couldn’t be more happy, excited and proud to be a member of this Montco family,” she said.