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Healthcare Leader Takes the Reins as New Board Chair

RICHMOND – With more than 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry, James Cuthbertson is accustomed to making critical decisions that impact entire organizations.


As the former president and chief executive officer of the Texas Heart Institute – the world’s largest cardiovascular treatment center- he is an acknowledged authority on complex medical organizations, their governance, and the strategies that have allowed them to achieve their prominence. These attributes make him ideally suited to assume his new role, that of chairman of the State Board for Community Colleges.

Cuthbertson feels the biggest challenge now facing Virginia’s Community Colleges is demonstrating to prospective students and their families that a community college education represents a solid return on their investment. “Through our system of community colleges, we can help students build foundations upon which they need to launch and sustain successful careers in a world that is quickly and constantly changing,” Cuthbertson said.

Cuthbertson says the explosive demand for a credentialed workforce is the most pressing need in higher education today. “Our assets position us to provide individuals with the training they need to earn the workforce credentials that matter most to businesses in every corner of the commonwealth,” he observed. “Our colleges are not only geographically distributed in such a way as to permit easy access to all Virginians, but they remain constantly engaged with their business communities to ensure that the workforce credential training programs we offer are tuned to the current demands of the regional economies our colleges serve.”

Cuthbertson describes his leadership style as one of participative guidance and inclusion. He adds that he’s honored to have been selected as board chair.

“I am encouraged by the challenges that we as a board face and confident that we will succeed in supporting the mission of our system and the strategic goals, including Complete 2021, that Chancellor DuBois has established.”

Also taking on a new role on the board is Eleanor Saslaw. She becomes the board’s vice chair, the title previously held by Cuthbertson. A licensed professional counselor, Saslaw began her career as a teacher in the Fairfax County school system. She has won numerous awards including the Friend of School Psychologists Award (2011) and Counselor of the Year (1998 and 1994).

Saslaw was appointed to the State Board for Community Colleges in 2014 by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and currently serves as liaison to both Rappahannock and Patrick Henry Community Colleges.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit

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