Professional, passionate, persistent, positive – these are a few words that best describe Colleen Hartfield, retired vice president for Community Relations and Governmental Affairs. Hartfield spent 34-plus years advancing community colleges in Mississippi.
Because of her visionary leadership skills, her areas of responsibility grew until she oversaw marketing, public relations, community relations, sports information, student publications, adult education, grants management, economic development and governmental relations. As college spokesperson, Hartfield handled good and bad news with a deft touch and earned the respect of colleagues for her ability to communicate, strategize and manage.
The ultimate pacesetter, Hartfield organized the first Community College Month celebration for the state, developed the first statewide marketing campaign for community colleges and forged partnerships that would strengthen the college’s mission, benefit its employees and serve its students.
As college President Dr. Clyde Muse’s right hand when dealing with governmental affairs, she worked for the entire system at the state and national levels. Because of her integrity, knowledge of the system and her ability to bring all community colleges together with a common voice, she worked effectively with legislators, congressional offices and other college leaders.
A staunch advocate for adult education and economically disadvantaged students, Hartfield labored to expand Hinds’ efforts to serve high school dropouts and at-risk students through the Gateway to College, Single Stop, MI-BEST and the Minority Male (M2M) Leadership Initiative programs. She led the college’s efforts to acquire millions of dollars in external funding to support these endeavors.
Hartfield was a graduate of Mississippi State University’s Community College Leadership Program and the Education Policy Fellowship Program. She was also one of the youngest ever to receive the Hinds 3E Award. She was also recognized by the Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network with its Leadership Award.