Dr. Merrill Irving Jr.: Bridging the Gap Between Innovation and Industry Demand Through Education

Feb 15, 2024

Dr. Merrill Irving Jr., a dedicated advocate for equity and inclusion, leads Hennepin Technical College (HTC) with a profound understanding of the transformative power of education. Born to teenage parents and raised by a single mother, Irving’s journey mirrors the challenges many of his students face. Under his leadership, HTC boasts a 99% placement rate for students in their field of study, underscoring the tangible impact of technical education on professional and personal success.

HTC, the largest technical college in Minnesota, is nationally recognized for granting associate degrees to women and minorities in engineering technologies, with 62% of its students coming from underrepresented populations. Irving’s approach to education includes leveraging over a million dollars in equipment annually to enhance student learning through technology, which plays a pivotal role in democratizing education for students of diverse backgrounds.

However, Irving acknowledges significant challenges, such as affordability and access, exacerbated by funding cuts. He emphasizes the importance of understanding and meeting students’ needs, especially those who juggle multiple jobs or family responsibilities alongside their education.

Reflecting on the evolution of education over his 25-year career, Irving notes the increased focus on safety and the rising concern over student debt. His presidential philosophy is informed by authenticity and a commitment to values like trust, honesty, and integrity. As the first president within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to benefit from marriage equity, Irving’s leadership style is inclusive and nontraditional, aiming to inspire students through his example.

Learn more at: https://rossier.usc.edu/news-insights/news/heart-leader

Disclaimer: This article was originally published on or around 11/17/2019 on the USC Rossier School of Education website. Dr. Merrill Irving Jr., President of Hennepin Technical College, is a key figure in this article. To access the complete article and for more information, please visit the original source at the link above.