EMCC President Lisa Larson exiting to join higher ed innovation group, interim president named

October 4, 2021

AUGUSTA, ME — Dr. Lisa Larson, the president of Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC,) is leaving the college to join Education Design Lab (EDL) to work on community college-related projects.

“We will miss Lisa’s warmth and ability to inspire innovation. Lisa’s accomplishments over the last five years cannot be overstated,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System (MCCS.) “While we will miss her greatly, we are thrilled to see her move into a new role with Education Design Lab and look forward to continuing our partnership in the future.”

Larson will lead the Community College Growth Engine Fund Initiative at EDL, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. EDL designs and implements innovative learning models for higher education and the future of work.

Her last day at EMCC will be Oct. 23. Dr. Wayne Burton, president emeritus of North Shore Community College in Danvers, Massachusetts, will serve as interim president. Dr. Burton will begin his new responsibilities in mid-October, allowing for a smooth transition in leadership.

“Lisa has been an inspiring and passionate leader at EMCC, effectively improving the student experience and advancing the College in new, important ways,” said Bill Cassidy, chairman of the MCCS Board of Trustees.

“Her leadership during the pandemic was particularly crucial, and her work in quickly responding to the state’s need for more PreK-12 teachers by creating the Learning Facilitator program will have lasting impact,” Cassidy said. “We wish her well in her new endeavors, and look forward to working together on more innovative projects.”

During her tenure, Larson oversaw the expansion of new learning models at EMCC and fostered systemwide discussions about embracing innovative approaches to serve students better and strengthen ties with the local community.

“I am most proud of being part of a community that is so committed to our students and business and industry partners. Supporting new learning models such as the Learning Facilitator program, and co-leading the system’s badging initiative with faculty, staff, students, and partners are some of my proudest experiences,” Larson said.

“I am grateful to have worked and collaborated with some of the most caring, innovative, inspiring, and funny people that made it their mission each day to make a difference for students, our partners, our community, and each other,” Larson said. “Our success is built on our partner’s support and EMCC’s innovations have consistently been embraced by our business, industry, and community partners and for that I am so very thankful.”

Burton, a Bowdoin College graduate, has deep ties to Maine and New England community colleges. He will serve as interim president for the remainder of this academic year, and a national search for a new president will begin shortly after the commencement of the spring term.

“I am both grateful and humbled by the opportunity to join an organization which under Dr. Larson’s leadership has reached the cutting edge of programs and services that continue to carry students to their fullest potential,” Burton said. “The students and the region have benefited from her leadership, which I hope to emulate during this transitional period.”

Burton served as president of North Shore Community College for 13 years before retiring in 2013, and previously worked at Salem State University and the University of New Hampshire. In 2011, he was appointed to the U.S. DOE Committee on Measures of Student Success, served as chair of the Massachusetts Community College Presidents’ Council in 2011-2012, and is the founding chair of the National Community College Consortium on Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.

Among his recognitions is the 2013 Educator of the Year award from the Northeastern Economic Developers Association. Under his tenure, North Shore Community College was awarded the Massachusetts “Public Higher Education Leading by Example Award” for outstanding environmental and energy achievements.

Burton has a doctorate in higher education leadership from Vanderbilt University and a master of business administration degree from the University of New Hampshire.

EMCC offers more than 40 programs of study and serves more than 2,400 students at the Bangor campus and off-campus centers in East Millinocket and Dover-Foxcroft. Additional information about the college is available at www.emcc.edu.