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DCCCD Trustees Appoint Interim Chancellor

Dr. Wright Lassiter

For immediate release - May 8, 2006

(DALLAS) – During a special meeting of the Dallas County Community College District’s board of trustees today, members unanimously appointed Dr. Wright Lassiter, president of El Centro College, as interim chancellor, effective immediately and continuing through August 2008, or until a successor is named. Lassiter assumes those duties and responsibilities following the resignation of Dr. Jesus “Jess” Carreon, former DCCCD chancellor, on May 2, 2006. 

“We are pleased to appoint Dr. Wright Lassiter as interim chancellor for the Dallas County Community College District,” said Jerry Prater, chair of DCCCD’s board of trustees. “Dr. Lassiter brings years of top administrative experience to this task, and we know that he is a respected member of the Dallas community. We look forward to working with Dr. Lassiter and all members of the DCCCD family as the district moves forward with its academic and business efforts, bond construction program and community outreach.”

“Serving as interim chancellor will be challenging, and I look forward to the collaboration and support of my colleagues at each of the district’s seven colleges – Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland – as we move forward with the business of educating more than 63,000 students. Continuity is important during this time of transition, and I know all members of the DCCCD family will work together on behalf of our students,” said Lassiter.

During the June DCCCD board of trustees meeting, Lassiter plans to nominate Ed DesPlas, ECC’s vice president for business services, to serve as El Centro’s interim president. 

Lassiter joined DCCCD as president of El Centro College in August 1986. Prior to that time, he served as president of Bishop College (Dallas), president of Schenectady County Community College (N.Y.), vice president for finance and administration at Morgan State University (Baltimore), and director of auxiliary enterprises/business manager at Tuskegee University – then Tuskegee Institute (Tuskegee, Ala.).

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alcorn State University (Miss.), a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University, and his doctorate in education from Auburn University (Ala.).

Lassiter has long-term experience in higher education administration: reporting to a nine-member board of trustees as president of Schenectady County Community College and to a 37-member board of trustees as president of Bishop College; serving as a member of the board of trustees for Dallas Baptist University and as a consultant to the board of trustees at Wayne County Community College for new member board orientation; and serving as a consultant for several community service and nonprofit organizations – including the Urban League of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce – in the areas of board fundamentals and new board member orientation.

The new DCCCD interim chancellor is actively involved in the community. He is chairman of the board of trustees for the African American Museum; immediate past board chair and senior director of the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Texas; and board member for several other organizations, including the YMCA Foundation, DBU Foundation and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Foundation. In 2002, he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a member of the National Advisory Council to the National Endowment for the Humanities. He previously served as a commissioner for the United States Commission on Minority Business Development and as a member of the Texas Council for the Humanities.

Lassiter is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Management at DBU and holds an honorary doctor of humanities degree from that institution. In 1995, he was elected to the Indiana University Academy of Alumni Fellows by the IU Kelley School of Business, and he also served a six-year term on the board of advisors for the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Lassiter has received a number of honors and awards, including his election to the inaugural class of the African American Educators Hall of Fame in Dallas. In 2005, he was one of 47 international educators who were selected to participate in the Oxford Round Table at Oxford University. He earned the J. Erik Jonsson Award for Volunteer Service from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, as well as its Above and Beyond Award; the George B. Allen Award from YMCA of Dallas for distinguished volunteer service; the Pacesetter of the Year Award for marketing excellence from the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations; the Johnnie Ruth Clark Award for excellence in community college administration from the National Council on Black American Affairs of the American Association of Community Colleges; and others.

Lassiter is married and has two grown children and two grandchildren.

Press contact: Ann Hatch, 214-860-2478