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Governor Wes Moore Announces Montgomery College’s Dr. Sanjay Rai as Acting Secretary for the Maryland Higher Education Commission

Maryland Governor Wes Moore today announced Dr. Sanjay Rai, Montgomery College’s senior vice president for academic affairs, as acting secretary for the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). He starts his new role in early May.

Dr. Rai has consistently and vigorously advanced innovations that bolster student success in academic, career, technical, and workforce development programs throughout his career. He has worked to remove barriers to education access through the redesign of developmental education, revision of alternate placement policies, and embedding of coaches in classrooms to increase student success.

“Based on his many years of leadership here at Montgomery College, we are confident that Dr. Rai will continue his tradition of educational innovation as Maryland’s secretary of higher education,” Chair of the Board of Trustees Dr. Michael Brintnall said. “He is keenly focused on preparing students for success academically and in the workforce, which thereby contributes to growth for our region’s employers and enriches our communities. We wish Dr. Rai the very best in this exciting role on Gov. Moore’s Cabinet.”

With his community college background, Dr. Rai provides a unique and valuable perspective on the need for post-secondary education to align with academic and workforce needs. Dr. Rai also helped in the creation of programs that meet the needs of emerging industries like cloud computing, cybersecurity, cell and gene therapy, and data science. 

“Dr. Rai’s qualifications and accomplishments make him uniquely situated to support Gov. Moore’s vision for advancing higher education in Maryland,” said Montgomery College President Jermaine F. Williams. “His accomplishments while at Montgomery College (MC) have benefitted thousands of students, bolstered the College’s academic programs, and forged valuable collaborations with community, industry, and government. His dedication to equity, innovation, and academic excellence has made a very real difference for all of us at Montgomery College. We look forward to partnering with Dr. Rai and Gov. Moore’s office to continue working for student success in Montgomery County and across Maryland.” 

In a statement released earlier today, Gov. Moore cited Dr. Rai’s 30+ years of career experience dedicated to higher education and his commitment to innovation, access, and leadership.

“I am honored to join the Moore-Miller administration. This is an historic opportunity to build upon a strong higher education system of community colleges, the University of Maryland System, and private colleges,” Dr. Rai said. “We must create an inclusive higher education ecosystem that provides meaningful and affordable access to higher education and workforce training to all residents in the state. We will ensure that home grown talent combined with research advancements, will make Maryland a prime destination for employers around the nation and the world for relocating, starting and expanding their businesses.”

He completed a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, an M.S. in mathematics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and an M.S. in mathematics and a B.S. in statistics, physics, and mathematics from the University of Allahabad in India. Dr. Rai continues to actively contribute to the field of mathematics by authoring numerous scholarly articles and other academic publications.

Since his appointment to the senior vice president position in 2014, Dr. Rai has transformed the Academic Affairs Division, leading efforts to pursue grants, forge partnerships with business, and cultivate curricula. He provided leadership in developing a collegewide academic structure, which encouraged collaboration, innovation, and intensified focus on student success. He also led the development of the Institute for Part-time Faculty Engagement and Support, thereby expanding part-time faculty engagement in student success efforts. The strategies and initiatives he inspired and developed continue to evolve in support of student success. As senior vice president for academic affairs, he also oversaw the Workforce Development and Continuing Education unit, a self-sustaining contributor to employers, the community, students, and the College.

Prior to serving as the College’s chief academic officer, Dr. Rai led the Germantown Campus as vice president and provost. In that role, he supported the creation of the Hercules Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology at Montgomery College (PIC MC) Foundation, which supports the Innovation Complex, providing an integrated academic, business, and research environment. In addition, the Paul Peck Academic and Innovation Building was made part of the campus during his Germantown tenure to address the burgeoning life science industry. With 25 start-up companies working on projects and providing learning opportunities for faculty and students, it led to an Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership Award from the American Association of Community Colleges. Dr. Rai also supported the development of the Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia, the Hillman Entrepreneur Program, and the development of the Biosciences Education Building.

Dr. Sanjay Rai – Photo Courtesy of Montgomery College
Dr. Sanjay Rai – Photo Courtesy of Montgomery College