This week, Lee College welcomed its 10th president, Dr. Lynda Villanueva.
She succeeds Dr. Dennis Brown, who will officially retire on Jan. 31.
We thank him for his strong stewardship and deep engagement in the greater Baytown community.
Brown was instrumental in developing with ExxonMobil a collaboration between nine area community colleges to develop a workforce training initiative — Community College Petrochemical Initiative — to help the company meet the demand for the workforce needed for expansion.
He and Darlene, his spouse, have championed important greater Baytown nonprofits and causes, and we are better for their support.
The breadth of Lee College’s mission demands a seamless transition. We are confident that will occur.
Dr. Villanueva brings wide-ranging experience to the position, having served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas. She previously served as Dean of Instruction at Brazosport. Dr. Villanueva holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of Houston; and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Dr. Villanueva was chosen in part, regents said in a joint statement, for her demonstrated leadership with many of the student success programs and initiatives underway at Lee College and the vision she shared to move Lee College forward in the years to come.
Villanueva said she comes from a background of poverty and is the first in her family to attain a college degree and understands the need to focus on student success. She believes in the powerful potential of all students to learn and grow into productive members of our community.
Her vision is that every student who comes to Lee College feels that they are welcome and that they belong from the first day they set foot on campus to the day they cross the commencement stage.
She said Lee College attracted her because it’s been in a community that has loved the college since its founding in 1934. It is Hispanic-serving, serves rural and urban populations and partners with local industry, including petrochemical and health care, she said.
With her background at Brazosport College, Dr. Villanueva said she has dealt with some of the same issues Lee College has, particularly the need to work with an expanding petrochemical industry to provide training not only for newcomers to the workforce, but also training in new skills for established workers.
We are confident regents chose just the right person to lead our truly community-focused college.
Welcome, Dr. Villanueva, to Baytown.
— David Bloom