Dr. Roy A. Church, President of Lorain County Community College since 1987, has announced he will retire June 30, 2016. Dr. Church is the fifth and longest serving LCCC President. He arrived from Florida for his first day on the job, March 15, 1987 “determined to help the college and community achieve great things, and with an exceptionally strong team and partners working hard every day, that’s exactly what we have done,” he said.
“I came to Lorain County and Lorain County Community College nearly 30 years ago full of hope and aspiration for the impact this college could have on this community,” said Church. “I was attracted here because I could see the college’s potential. It was a sound institution serving a strong community. Reflecting back, I am proud of all it has achieved and the lives it has impacted, including mine. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside so many dedicated trustees, faculty, staff and community members – who shared in my passion for what this college and community could achieve together.”
Lorain County Community College has grown significantly under his leadership, becoming highly regarded in the state and in the nation. But as Church noted, “It has always been about what this community needs from its college – and that’s been the driving force behind our strategies and successes.”
“Our college and our community are fortunate to have attracted and retained such a visionary, innovative leader in Roy Church,” said Terry Goode, chairman of the LCCC District Board of Trustees. “His impact and achievements have made him among the very top higher education leaders in the state and country. But, one quality we all know well about Roy Church – his actions have always been about this college and community. He has demonstrated a commitment to this community – to be part of it, to understand it well, what it needed and how its college could serve those needs.”
His commitment to engagement is evident by the way in which the college establishes its strategic vision and priorities. In 1989, Church initiated the first strategic planning process for the college that was rooted in community engagement and understanding. The process centered‐around spending several months “listening and learning” to a wide range of stakeholders to help set the strategic direction for Lorain County Community College. That process led to the creation of Vision 2000 and established a new bar for how the college connected to the community. Since that time, the college’s strategic plan was updated using an ever‐expanding stakeholder engagement process in 1997 which led to Vision 21, in 2005 with creation of Vision 2015 and in 2012 with the development of Vision 2.0. In September, the College’s District Board of Trustees approved an update to Lorain County Community College’s strategic plan titled: Vision 2020, which will guide the direction for Lorain County Community College over the next three to five years.
Commenting on the plan, Dr. Church said, “The college’s strategic direction is set. It reflects what this community expects of and needs from us. It provides what students need to succeed in college and careers in today’s environment, what our economy needs to grow and what the community needs to thrive. It marks a clear direction that builds off past success to work with a dedicated board of trustees, a campus of highly‐accomplished administrators, faculty and staff and a community that has strongly supported its college.”
According to Chairman Goode, the District Board of Trustees will initiate a national search to identify Church’s successor. To assist the board with this process, they have selected an experienced search firm, The Association of Governing Boards, who will work with a Search Advisory Committee, directed by the Board of Trustees. The Search Advisory Committee will be chaired by current LCCC District Board of Trustee member and immediate past‐chairman of the board, Larry Goodman. The process is expected to last approximately six to eight months. (www.lorainccc.edu/Vision2020)
As for his decision to retire, Church comments, “No one ever decides to go to one place for 29 years; it just happened. I came to Lorain County with a young family in tow. I believed this was a good place to raise a family, to have a good quality of life and to make a difference. I was right about all three. This community and this college have been a blessing to me. I’ve always felt strongly, if there is a community that needs a community college, it’s this one. I am privileged to have served as president here for the vast majority of my career; I am proud of all it has accomplished and all it is fully‐prepared to accomplish going forward.”
Church is just the third permanent, fifth overall, president in the 52‐year history for the College. He was selected through a national search process to follow founding President Dr. Max Lerner (1963‐70), Acting President Thomas Bowen (1970‐71), Dr. Omar Olson (1971‐86) and Interim President Dr. Richard Mellott (1986‐87).
Examples of Dr. Church’s Impact
Raising Educational Attainment.
Dr. Church championed the need to raise educational attainment in order for residents to succeed in the knowledge and innovation economy, where employers were requiring higher levels of education and skills for good‐paying jobs.
- Enrollment at Lorain County Community College has grown 165 percent between 1987 and 2015, from 9,000 to over 15,000 today (headcount)
- 26,288 associate degrees were conferred to 22,274 individuals since 1987; In 2014 and 2015, LCCC led the state in three‐year success rates (degree, transfer and persistence combined success rate.)
- He had a vision to use the community college as a host to make bachelor’s and master’s degrees affordable and accessible to residents in Lorain County and rallied the community to create the University Partnership program (1995). Today the University Partnership program is recognized as the best value of higher education in Ohio, delivering more than 40 bachelor’s and 12 master’s degrees from 12 colleges and universities to over 3,000 students each year. Since its inception, over 5,000 bachelor and graduate degrees have been awarded through the University Partnership Program.
- Since 2000, educational attainment in Lorain County has increased 21 percent in associate degrees, 29 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees and 49 percent increase in master’s degrees – outpacing other counties in our region.
Keeping College Affordable and High Value.
Dr. Church maintained a firm commitment to ensuring quality education at an affordable cost for students and their families.
- Lorain County Community College tuition ranks second lowest in the state of Ohio. Furthermore, in July, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education listed Lorain County Community College has having the lowest net price of any Ohio College and 38th lowest in the nation.
- Affordability is provided with high value. In May 2015, the Brookings Institute ranked Lorain County Community is the highest among all Ohio community colleges in value‐added based on earnings for graduates.
- With philanthropic support from the Lorain County Community College Foundation, awarded over 15,000 scholarships to students by developing a Trustee and Presidential scholarship guarantee for highest achieving high school graduates for full or partial tuition awards, a scholarship program for students of diversity, scholarships to help non‐traditional students with total cost of education and scholarships to support students through the University Partnership Program.
Guaranteeing High School Students Get an Early Start on a College Degree by Partnering with K‐12 Districts to Pioneer Blended College Pathways for High School Students.
- Established the Lorain County Early College High School, with support from the Gates Foundation. Developed in 2004, the program provides first‐generation college students the opportunity to take all four years of high school on the campus of Lorain County Community College, simultaneously earning a high school diploma and associate degree. To date, the LCECHS has enrolled 680 students, 418 completed the full program with 92 percent earning an Associate of Arts degree and high school diploma.
- Created one of the most robust models for dual enrollment opportunities in the state, exceeding national and state averages for high school students graduating with college credit. (Nationally: 7.8 percent, Ohio: 5 percent; Lorain County 20 percent)
- In just the last five years, awarded 95,707 college credit hours to 9,489 high school students, saving families over $14,000,000 in tuition at LCCC rates, nearly $43 million at public university rates.
- Launched MyUniversity Guarantee (2014) to blend dual enrollment with University Partnership Programs to create a model for high school students to earn a bachelor’s degree in 10 degree pathways by age 20 at 20 percent of the cost. Currently have 63 partnership agreements with 32 high schools delivering college courses at the high school site.
Market-Relevant Education for Good Careers.
Dr. Church clearly saw the connection between a higher education and good jobs. He ensured quality programs were developed, based on market research and job forecasts, to prepare students to succeed, whether their goal was to transfer on to a four‐year institution for a bachelor’s degree or complete an applied degree or certificate for direct entry into a career.
- Over 350,000 have been served in credit and non‐credit job training programs leading to jobs and careers.
- Developed accelerated training programs in healthcare, business, manufacturing, information technology and more to help transitioning adults and dislocated workers retrain quickly for new jobs.
Stimulating Economic Growth and Creating Good Jobs.
Recognizing the need in our community to not only prepare talent with strong skills, but to also help grow companies that create good‐paying jobs, Church led the development of the most robust portfolio for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship of any community college in the country. This persistent commitment led to the development and expansion of the Great Lakes Technology Park, Nord Advanced Technology Center, GLIDE ‐ a technology Incubator on campus (2001), FabLab (2006), Innovation Fund (2007), Blackstone LaunchPad (2012), Desich SMART Commercialization Center (2013), home of the Lorain County Small Business Development Center and more.
Serving as a Resource for the entire Community.
Church opened the campus to the community, creating:
- The Joint Center for Policy Research/Public Services Institute to serve as a neutral convener and data analysis/strategic planning resource for non‐profits and governments.
- The John A. Spitzer Conference Center (1995), which serves over 115,000 annually in professional meeting and continuing education spaces, among others.
- The C. Paul Stocker Fine Arts and Humanities Center annually hosts over 300 events, serving nearly 80,000 patrons of all ages in presenting functions as well as serves as home to the college’s robust fine arts degree programs.