Since assuming the presidency at Naugatuck Valley Community College in 2008, Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., has instilled a shared vision of community, student-centeredness, collaboration and civic-engagement. Under her guidance, student retention has steadily risen, enrollment has increased from 6,128 students (fall 2008) to 7,427 students (fall 2012), and graduation awards have grown from 521 (2007-08) to 1020 (2011-12) total awards. The College has also observed the successful development of a growing center in Danbury; expanded course time blocks; extended library and tutoring hours; consolidated and streamlined student services; implemented college-wide mentoring, advising and job-readiness programs; and established a Bridge to College office, which administers $12 million in grants aimed at preparing students to enter and succeed in college. Dr. De Filippis has also worked with local and elected leadership to bring evening bus service to Waterbury, secure funding for an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, receive a Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence and bring the federal GEAR UP program to Waterbury.
Prior to coming to NVCC, Dr. De Filippis served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Dr. De Filippis began her career at York College, also part of the CUNY system, as an adjunct lecturer in 1978, advancing to become a professor of Spanish and ultimately being appointed associate dean for academic affairs. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish language and a M. Phil. in Spanish literature from the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY, an M.A. in Spanish literature and a B.A. in Spanish and English literatures summa cum laude from Queens College, CUNY. A published author and literary critic, her scholarly work is recognized internationally as pioneering the field of Dominican women studies and Dominican authors in the U.S.
As president of NVCC, Dr. De Filippis has been honored by the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. She was also invited to speak at the mayoral inauguration in January.