UPDATE: During his first visit to Champlain College since being named the school’s new president, Alex Hernandez offered assurance to the campus community on Thursday that he doesn’t merely view the position as a stepping stone.

He said Thursday afternoon that Champlain’s mission of career-focused education is his own life’s work. Hernandez said he could draw parallels between what the college does and the journey through life of not only himself, but his family.

“I grew up in central California (in Stockton), where opportunity was scarce and fragile, and we were really lucky to have educators and mentors help us,” he said. “What happened for us out of sheer fortune happens here at Champlain by design.”

The college has gone through two presidents within the last three years. Dr. Benjamin Akande stepped down in May after less than a year in office to join St. Louis-based investment bank Stifel Financial as a senior vice president.

Meanwhile, Donald Laackman never publicly disclosed a reason for his own resignation in June of 2019. Barely two weeks later, he left for an executive post with a Chicago-based community nonprofit group.

“My entire family is just really excited to join the community here, and I think there’s magic here at Champlain, and we’re just excited to be here and help steward that vision and that mission over the next decade.”


Burlington, VT — Alejandro (“Alex”) Hernandez will become the tenth president of Champlain College starting June 6, 2022.

The Champlain College Board of Trustees announced the hiring of Hernandez, who currently serves as the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and Vice Provost of Online Learning at the University of Virginia.

Hernandez has an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University and a BA from Claremont McKenna College. Throughout his career, Hernandez has worked many positions in the field of education including teaching high school mathematics in South Los Angeles, working as an administrator for Portland Public Schools in Oregon and serving as an area superintendent for Aspire Public Schools in California.

Hernandez also spent time working for the Charter School Growth Fund, a national education foundation, where he built the nonprofit’s Innovative Schools practice, which is one of the largest efforts in the country focused on personalized learning and career readiness.

“It is a tremendous honor to lead Champlain College,” Hernandez said. “Champlain’s mission resonates strongly with me both personally and professionally, and I’m excited to work with the community to build on its success and momentum.”

Champlain College President Emeritus David Finney has served as the Interim President since June 1, 2021 and was the President of Champlain College from 2005 to 2014.

“I’m thrilled that Alex Hernandez will be Champlain’s next President,” Finney said. “Champlain has an important role in helping Burlington and Vermont thrive, and I am excited about Alex’s track record of creating partnerships that drive economic opportunity.”

Champlain College Board of Trustees Chair Judy O’Connell said Hernandez has strong track record of education innovation and is the right person to lead the college’s Re-Evolutionary Champlain 2030 strategic plan, a roadmap for the College in the years ahead.

“We believe Alex is the right leader to bring to life the goals set forth in the plan, which include launching new innovative, career-focused programs, reaching diverse student populations, and building partnerships that help Vermont thrive,” O’Connell said.

Hernandez plans to relocate to Burlington by summer.