The Lake-Sumter State College District Board of Trustees (DBOT) voted unanimously to name Dr. Heather Bigard as the College’s 7th president at its meeting last night.
The DBOT also appointed Bigard into an Interim President role through June 30th before officially becoming the college’s seventh president. She will be the first female president in LSSC history.
Bigard, who has been at the College since 2016, currently serves as the Provost and Executive Vice President.
“Lake-Sumter State College is truly a special place and I enjoy the opportunity each day to work with alongside our dedicated faculty and staff in support of our students and their educational and career goals,” said Bigard. “I am honored by the trust the District Board of Trustees has placed in me to lead this institution. These next few years will be a transformational time in higher education in Florida and this country, I believe that LSSC is well positioned to embrace the future to provide economic opportunity and impact to the communities that we serve.”
Bigard brings 25 years of experience from a wide portfolio of higher education leadership to this role. As a first-generation college student who worked on campus to help fund her undergraduate education, Bigard understands first-hand the realities that students face when enrolling in college.
“As the College continues to sharpen its focus on student success and maximize higher education opportunities for our community, Dr. Bigard brings the right skills and an unwavering passion for students to the presidency,” said Mr. Tim Morris, chair of the DBOT. “We have the utmost confidence in Dr. Bigard and are excited for the future of Lake-Sumter State College under her leadership.”
Bigard has overseen the implementation of several significant projects at Lake-Sumter State College including the expansion of academic programs, development of a five-year strategic plan, technology and service improvements, and a new resource allocation process. That new budgeting model allowed for the identification of surplus funds to be invested strategically across the institution, including an updated salary and compensation model for faculty and staff, information technology enhancements, facilities and capital improvement, and student support services.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to have a greater impact on the success of our students and become further engaged in the community,” said Bigard. “This College has a rich history and connection with the local community. I will build on our past successes and work to create a shared vision for the future of higher education locally.”
Bigard received her doctorate in higher education and organizational change and master’s degree from Benedictine University and her bachelor’s degree from Lambuth University. She resides in the Clermont area with her husband and has two children.
Dr. Stan Sidor, who is currently on medical leave, will support Dr. Bigard in her transition through June.