Veteran community college leader Lee D. Lambert today was named chancellor of Pima Community College.
At a Special Meeting this morning, the PCC Governing Board voted unanimously for the College to enter into a three-year contract with Mr. Lambert, who since 2006 has been president of Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Wash.
“I am honored and pleased to be selected as Chancellor. Pima Community College is a place committed to student access and success,” Mr. Lambert said today. “Together I will work with any and all groups to advance the mission of the College.”
Mr. Lambert’s contract will start on July 1. His annual base pay will be $290,000.
Before being named president at Shoreline, Lambert served as the Seattle-area institution’s vice president for Human Resources and Legal Affairs. He has a law degree from Seattle University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
The selection of Lambert follows a fact-finding trip to Seattle-area Shoreline earlier this week by a six-member PCC team.
Team members shared observations and insights with the Board and the community today. They were unanimous in their support of Mr. Lambert as “the right person to lead us to a brighter tomorrow,” according to Board Member Dr. Sylvia Lee.
“I had hoped I would find reasons to say no,” Dr. Lee said. Instead, “I found numerous reasons to say yes.”
Dr. Lee was among several members of the team who noted that Mr. Lambert has led Shoreline out of a fiscal crisis brought on by Washington state Legislature budget cuts. Dr. Lee pointed out that partnerships with area industries have rejuvenated many of the school’s programs, such as Machine Tool Technology and Automotive Technology.
The team found Mr. Lambert to be a leader of integrity who has made Shoreline a place of “collegiality, vision and respect,” said Terra Benson, director of admissions and registrar.
His managerial style is clear, strategic and inclusive. “He’s a CEO, not a micromanager,” said PCC Foundation member Norm Rebenstorf. Mr. Lambert expects his administrators to have “eight or nine irons in the fire, always properly heated.”
Rebenstorf, who also served on the independent citizens’ search committee that initially vetted numerous chancellor candidates, praised Mr. Lambert’s inclusive leadership style and hands-on approach to management.
“He will take this College to another level,” Rebenstorf said.
History instructor Kimlisa Salazar Duchicela noted that Shoreline was a welcoming and diverse institution with a multicultural center, a women’s center and “academic vibrancy.” Shoreline, she said, is “a place where one wanted to be.”
“I believe strongly an institution reflects its leadership,” she said.
Like Dr. Lee, Salazar Duchicela “looked under every rock, crevice and azalea . . . but couldn’t find the [red] flags I was looking for” to disqualify Mr. Lambert.
Dr. Lou Albert, president of Pima’s West Campus, described Mr. Lambert as a man of high integrity who keeps “the big picture in mind.”
“I am confident he can make the College one of the best in the country,” Dr. Albert said. “We all need to rally around this man.”
Lambert was one of four finalists selected by an independent citizens’ Search Advisory Committee that has been leading the search for a new chancellor. He was identified as the leading candidate on May 10.
Lambert visited PCC on April 29-30 to take part in employee and public forums, visit the College’s six campuses, and meet administrators, the PCC Foundation and the Governing Board.
Lambert is the sixth person since 1992 to occupy the position of PCC chancellor, including two who served on an interim basis. Before 1992, PCC was led by presidents.
Dr. Zelema Harris has been serving as Interim Chancellor since April 16. Her last day at PCC will be June 30.