Marcia Cackowski Ballinger ’83 became the new president of Lorain County Community College beginning July 1.
In a unanimous vote, the LCCC Board of Trustees selected Ballinger as the college’s sixth president to replace President Roy A. Church, who retired June 30. Ballinger previously served as the provost/vice president of academic and learner services. She will be the college’s first female president.
“It has been a bittersweet moment,” said Terry Goode, chairman of the LCCC Board of Trustees, referring to searching for Church’s replacement. “But it is also an exciting moment for this institution.
“It’s the most important decision this board can make that will affect our community for a long time,” Goode added.
Ballinger said she is honored to be chosen by the board and proud to get the opportunity to serve as the first female president of LCCC.
“I’m focused on ensuring that our students have the opportunity to have the programs and degrees to achieve their goals,” Ballinger said. “I want to work with our faculty and staff to make sure that we have the most outstanding educational programs so that our graduates can continue to contribute to the local economy.”
Church lauded the choice of Ballinger as the new president.
“She’s a very competent, polished, professional leader, and she’s certainly up to the job and will thrive in this role and serve this institution extremely well,” Church said.
He noted that Ballinger has been closely involved in every initiative the college has undertaken since 1991.
“Everything we have done since that period of time, she has been integrally involved in, in a variety of different roles for this institution,” Church said. “So she’s fully familiar with all the progress that’s been made and progress that yet needs to be made.”
Ballinger said Church was the best mentor she could have had to prepare her for her new challenge.
“I have had the opportunity to learn from him and work with him on all priorities of the College,” she said. “What I will take most is the leadership and vision of how he has brought this community together to really meet the needs of our community, because after all, community is the middle name of Lorain County Community College. I think one of the great hallmarks of this institution is its responsiveness to the unique needs of our community, and so I look forward to doing that.”
Ballinger had been LCCC’s provost/vice president for academic and learner services since 2011. She was LCCC’s vice president for strategic and institutional development from 2002 to 2011, vice president of the Lorain County Community College Foundation from 2002 to 2011, and director of marketing/recruitment and media relations from 1991 to 2002.
She earned a her doctorate from Walden University in 2012 in higher education with a minor in community college leadership, an MBA from Kent State University in 2000, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from IUP.
Ballinger was also awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. As a member of this inaugural class of Aspen Presidential Fellows, she will participate in a yearlong program of seminars and mentorship focused on a new vision for leadership for community college leaders.
Ballinger was one of three finalists and scored highest, according to Goode, in ratings by students and faculty, staff, administration, and community members.
Elyria, Ohio, is about 25 miles west of Cleveland in Lorain County. The college serves Lorain County as well as portions of Cuyahoga, Medina, Erie, and Huron counties. LCCC has about 15,000 associate degree and certificate level students and another 3,000 in its University Partnership program, which brings more than 50 bachelor’s and master’s degrees to the LCCC campus from 12 Ohio colleges and universities.