President’s Cabinet

American International College President’s Cabinet – 2022



Hubert Benitez, DDS, PhD

President of AIC

Hubert Benitez, DDS, PhD, took office as the twelfth president of AIC on April 11, 2022. As president, Dr. Benitez serves as the chief executive officer of the College and is responsible for the overall administration of the institution, including formulating and recommending policies, programs, and plans for its educational, financial, and physical development, while guiding the College’s vision of preparing students for life.

While Dr. Benitez has dedicated the last two decades to higher education as an academic, administrator, and faculty member, he additionally spent fifteen years as a clinician. Prior to his appointment as president of AIC, Dr. Benitez served as vice president for Strategic Initiatives and Academic Innovation, and as acting chief inclusion officer at Rockhurst University; as president and CEO for Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences; and has served in other executive leadership roles, including provost and chief academic officer, dean of Health Sciences, department chair, assistant dean, and has held academic rank at the associate professor level.

A native of Colombia, Dr. Benitez received his first doctoral degree in dentistry from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, a research-intensive institution of higher education in Latin America. Subsequently, Dr. Benitez completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Connecticut Health Sciences Center focused on education and research, and later earned a PhD in higher education administration from Saint Louis University, College of Education and Public Service. Dr. Benitez is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management (IEM) at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He also completed the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Nicolle Cestero, MA, PHR, MBA

Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President, and Chief of Staff

Nicolle Cestero serves as the chief operating officer, executive vice president, and chief of staff for AIC. Cestero joined the College in July 2011 as the associate vice president for Human Resources. Since that time, she has assumed increasing levels of responsibility and scope of duties. Cestero is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the College, while continuing to serve as advisor to the president, playing an integral role in the operationalization of AIC’s strategic plan. She oversees the College’s legal matters and support presidential and institutional initiatives to ensure project deadlines are met and targeted outcomes are attained. She serves on the President’s Cabinet and all individual board committees.

Cestero is certified as a professional in human resources (PHR), as well as attaining the designation of certified professional from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP), which recognizes human resource professionals who implement policies on strategies. She also serves as the point of contact for staff and stakeholders and performs operational human resource duties.

Cestero earned a master of arts in industrial organizational psychology from the University of West Florida and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Mount Holyoke College. She earned an MBA at AIC in May 2022.

Kerry Cole, MBA

Vice President for Admissions

Kerry Cole, vice president for Admissions, is AIC’s chief admissions officer, providing strategic direction and leadership to a results-oriented admissions program. Since her arrival in 2014, Cole has worked with the Admissions department to monitor the effectiveness of recruitment, in addition to enrollment policies and procedures, to ensure comprehensive, coordinated, and effective efforts that are aligned with national best-practice. She has effectively held a variety of positions over the last fifteen years in the areas of undergraduate admissions, graduate admissions, and advancement at both AIC and Nichols College.

Cole finds fulfillment in helping students navigate the college process, particularly first-generation and low-income students. When she is not working with families, Cole can be found working with campus leadership to develop the future of AIC or mentoring young men and women in the early stages of their careers.

Cole holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from Nichols College.

Michael Dodge, MA, EdD

Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael Dodge, MA, EdD, serves as the interim executive vice president for Academic Affairs. In this role, he provides leadership, direction, and support for the division of Academic Affairs for AIC. Dr. Dodge is responsible for the oversight of the Schools of Business, Arts, and Sciences, Health Sciences, and Education; the Registrar’s Office; the Center for Navigating Educational Success Together (NEST), which includes tutoring, advising, and student success initiatives; Shea Library; and the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CETLS). During his tenure at AIC, Dr. Dodge has served in multiple roles within Academic Affairs. He came to the College to serve as the director of the AIC Plan for Excellence (APEX) program, which received a United States Department of Education federal grant under his leadership. He continues to serve as the director of the APEX program and as the principal investigator/project director for the federal grant. Additionally, Dr. Dodge served as the dean of student success and opportunity and led the development and implementation of the NEST, which focuses on student success, retention, and persistence efforts for the College.

Prior to joining the AIC community in 2018, Dr. Dodge worked for more than a decade at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in a variety of teaching and administrative roles. Dr. Dodge earned his doctorate in educational policy, leadership, and administration from UMass Amherst. He holds a master’s degree in student affairs and higher education administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and English at the State University of New York at Oswego. Dr. Dodge is involved in the local community and is an appointed member of the Holyoke Conservation Commission.

Michael Eriquezzo

Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Michael Eriquezzo serves as Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications, overseeing advertising, branding, public relations, and communications for AIC across all media platforms. Eriquezzo joined the College in April 2017, serving three years as lead graphic designer before stepping into a departmental leadership role in the spring of 2020. Since that time, he has led initiatives in digital and traditional advertising, web and social media management, design and production of communications materials including Lucent magazine, and expanding on-campus branding and signage. Eriquezzo is a member of the President’s Cabinet and serves on the Enrollment Management and Marketing Committee.

Eriquezzo holds a bachelor of business administration in marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Chris Garrity, CPA

Vice President for Finance

Chris Garrity joined AIC in 2013 and has been serving as vice president for Finance since 2018. During his tenure, he has increased controls within the Finance department and instituted technological advances to better serve the needs of the College. Garrity has since assumed additional finance and administrative responsibilities including insurance, facilities, and banking. Prior to joining AIC, he worked as a CPA for Meyers Brothers Kalicka, PC in Holyoke, bringing with him twelve years of public-accounting experience.

Garrity graduated from Nichols College in Dudley with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is a former member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Henry “Joe” Long Jr., MEd

Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Henry “Joe” Long Jr. joined AIC as the associate vice president for Institutional Advancement in November of 2021. As associate vice president, Long oversees all development operations including major gifts, planned giving, annual giving, grants, advancement services, and constituent records. With more than twenty years of experience in fundraising, team building, and securing major and planned gifts, he came to AIC from UMass Amherst, where he served as the executive director of development for libraries. There, he partnered with a dedicated staff to enhance philanthropic support for all three library locations and strengthen donor stewardship and communication.

Prior to UMass, Long worked at Springfield College for more than a decade with success in major giving, athletics development, and parent giving. Additionally, he has held numerous advancement leadership roles at Plymouth State University, including alumni director and interim director of advancement.

Long graduated from Springfield College with both a bachelor of arts in general studies and a master of education in sports management.

Louis Izzi, MS

Vice President for Athletics

Lou Izzi joined AIC as vice president for Athletics in July 2021 after serving two years as vice president for Enrollment Management and Athletics at the University of Bridgeport. Prior to that role, Izzi spent four years as the director of Athletics at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, where he led multiple facility renovations, added three new varsity sports, and created twenty new coaching and administrative positions.

Izzi also coached NCAA Division III college hockey at Johnson & Wales and Nichols College. In fourteen seasons, he compiled 203 victories. He was named ECAC Northeast Coach of the Year twice and New England Division III Coach of the Year three times. Izzi led Nichols College to a school-record twenty-five wins, its first national ranking and conference championship, and its first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Izzi graduated from Providence College with a BA in English. He received his master’s degree in sport administration from Canisius College.

Mimi Royston, MBA

Chief Information Officer

Mimi Royston joined AIC in January 2013 and serves as the chief information officer. Royston developed a strong technical background over the past thirty years as an information technology professional. She has both depth and breadth in IT management, planning, and continuous operational improvement.

In addition to operating as the College’s CIO, Royston serves as vice president and IT security officer. She leads the AIC Information Technology department, and the wide range of services IT delivers to the college community with a focus on customer satisfaction, innovation, transparency, and collaboration. She is engaged in the strategic planning at AIC and partners in the areas in which technology can improve our ability to achieve our goals. Royston works with her network of university CIOs to be collaborative and seek cost-effective solutions for AIC and other small colleges and universities.

Royston holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an MBA from Assumption College, as well as her CISSP certification.

Matthew Scott, MEd

Vice President for Student Affairs

Matthew Scott joined AIC in 2013 as the director of Residence Life, and after serving in various roles at the College, was promoted to vice president for Student Affairs in July 2020. The division of Student Affairs includes the following departments: Student Life, which includes the Office of Residence Life, and the Center for Student Engagement; the Saremi Center for Career Development; Dexter Health Services; and Dexter Counseling Services. The following services and programs fall under his purview: residence education; housing operations; student conduct; student behavioral intervention team (CARE Team); student activities; diversity education; and campus recreation programs such as intramural sports, fitness and wellness programs, and the fitness center.

In addition to leading the division of Student Affairs, Scott serves as the College’s Title IX coordinator with primary responsibility for coordinating compliance with Title IX. As the College’s designated Title IX official, Scott provides leadership for Title IX activities; consultation, education, and training; and helping to ensure that the institution responds appropriately, effectively, and equitably to Title IX issues.

Scott graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration from Springfield College and received his MEd in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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