Lamar Community College (LCC) president, Dr. Linda Lujan, announced she will step down December 31, 2022, as part of her planned retirement. Dr. Lujan has valiantly served LCC and Southeast Colorado since 2016.
Dr. Lujan is completing her 40th year in higher education that includes leadership roles at Maricopa Community College District in Arizona, where she served as president and CEO of Chandler-Gilbert Community College and academic vice president of South Mountain Community College. Dr. Lujan's rich experience also includes eight previous years with the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) as academic dean of the Centers for Business & Technology and Health Sciences at the Community College of Denver and director of educational technology at Arapahoe Community College.
In a heartfelt message to her campus community, she said that she believed this was the right time for her to step down and expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve others and transform students' lives through this position.
"Serving students, co-workers, and communities through my various community college roles has culminated into the most rewarding career I could have ever imagined," said Dr. Lujan. "My only regret is not discovering LCC years earlier so I could have spent more time serving this wonderful college and community. This has been the best place I have ever worked - LCC is truly a community-centered campus that is supported and cared for by the surrounding region. Leaving LCC will be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is time."
Under Dr. Lujan's leadership, LCC transformed its approach to promoting student success and the student experience through numerous facilities improvements, technology enhancements, and beautification projects. The college had not seen such an abundance of capital improvements since the original campus was built in the 1960's. Over the course of several years, Dr. Lujan managed over $12 million in campus projects. Most notably, these have included LCC's new Student Union, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Building, Library and Tutoring Center, and major enhancements to technology infrastructure and technology-enabled classrooms.
"The student experience at a small, residential community college is vitally important," said Dr. Lujan. "I am incredibly proud of the significant campus improvements we have made over the past several years. I know our hard work will enhance the learning and living environments for our students, as well as provide faculty and staff with more opportunity to increase student engagement and academic success for years to come."
In addition to infrastructure improvements, Dr. Lujan secured millions in state and federal grant funding to bolster programs, student support services, scholarships, and more. Notable grants included funding to launch Southeast Colorado's first and only makerspace; a $2.25 million Federal Title III grant to support student success initiatives and build a precision ag program; a $1.57 million Federal IREPO grant to expand remote access and increase classroom technology at LCC and local Concurrent Enrollment high school sites; and a $1.66 million grant from the Colorado Attorney General's Office to establish a construction trades program.
Dr. Lujan was also instrumental in working with the college's foundation to secure innovative student housing options that paved the way for both men's and women's National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) soccer at LCC. And an additional partnership with the City of Lamar provided a collegiate soccer field to enable the teams to practice and compete.
Outside of her busy schedule, Dr. Lujan engages in the classroom as an instructor for University of Colorado Denver's Doctorate of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity and Higher Education program. She also immerses herself into the community, serving on several rural economic development and business expansion boards and committees. At the national level, she served as a member on the American Association of Community Colleges' (AACC) Commission on Small and Rural Colleges, as well as AACC Global and Marketing Commissions.
Dr. Lujan earned her Doctorate in Community College Leadership from Colorado State University, a Master's in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University, a Bachelor's in Human Resource Management from Colorado Christian University, and an Associate of Applied Science in Management Information Systems from Arapahoe Community College. She also completed a certificate in Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. Lujan is a recognized leader and has received numerous awards and accolades for her tremendous work; however, she considers her most important role to be mother, grandmother, and servant leader. Dr. Lujan's husband of 51 years, retired Denver Police Captain Edward Lujan, Jr., was her biggest supporter and cheerleader. He passed away on March 26, 2020.
She stated, "For a long time, my gracious family has allowed me to pour myself into my career and serve others. Now, it is their turn. I am looking forward to having more time and adventures with my four children and eight grandchildren."
The timing of Dr. Lujan's announcement will allow CCCS ample time to execute a comprehensive search for LCC's next president. Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System, commended Dr. Lujan for her decorated career in higher education and thanked her for all that she has done to champion student success.
"Dr. Lujan's passion for the community college mission is unmatched, and she is the shining example of a leader who advances the value, power, and impact of rural institutions," said Garcia. "Since her first day as president, she has worked relentlessly to provide more opportunities for students and elevate LCC as a go-to resource for business and the surrounding community. We will miss her dearly and wish her the best in retirement."
CCCS will announce details about the search for LCC's next president, including how the community can participate, in the coming weeks.