Ivy Tech Community College has named Dr. Lorenzo Esters as its next Indianapolis campus chancellor, effective July 1, 2021. Current chancellor Dr. Kathleen Lee announced her retirement after serving 36 years with the College. The Indianapolis chancellor position will include oversight and leadership of the College’s largest service area, including Marion, Hendricks and Boone counties.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Esters to Ivy Tech. His broad and rich experience along with his recognized leadership in higher education makes him ideal to serve our largest and most diverse campus. We have the opportunity to reach well over one million Hoosiers in the greater Indianapolis service area,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “Dr. Esters’ work with Strada, AAC&U, ETS, and two higher education institutions gives him both an inside and outside view of the college. As a resident of Central Indiana, he has deep ties to many Indianapolis organizations and communities. I am confident he will ‘hit the ground running’ as the Indianapolis campus has an outsized role in developing talent for the city’s growing economy and increasing the prosperity of our students, families, neighborhoods and communities.”
“I am honored to be selected as the next chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis campus. As an Indiana resident for almost seven years now, I consider myself a Hoosier,” said Dr. Esters. “I believe in this community and it is evident from the interview process that the students, faculty, staff, Campus Board of Trustees, and community leaders are committed to the important role that the college plays in building the pipeline of talent needed to meet the needs of our economy today and in the future.”
Dr. Esters currently serves as vice president for Advancement and Member Engagement with the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a higher education association representing more than 1,200 two- and four-year institutions located in 50 states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. Territories and 25 countries.
Dr. Esters previously served as executive director for Higher Education Partnerships within the Global Education Division of Educational Testing Service, where he led the “Skills for a New Economy Initiative”, an effort focused on creating new solutions for workplace success by visualizing the skills, capabilities and knowledge needed to thrive in a changing economy. His professional experiences have been uniquely centered on generating philanthropic and institutional capacity to support student access, completion, and career readiness efforts, particularly for those from marginalized backgrounds.
“Education and the ability to use the skills I have acquired through an education on the job was my pathway out of poverty and into a meaningful life and career. That is the power of what Ivy Tech does for students with faculty as the facilitators of teaching and learning,” said Dr. Esters. “I look forward to partnering with our internal and external communities to build on the great work already underway at the college. With students and community at the center of everything that we do, we will collaborate with our K-12 and four-year institutions, build innovative industry partnerships, and leverage relationships with community organizations to assure a strong education-to-work ecosystem for our communities.”
His prior experiences also include serving as vice president for Philanthropy at Strada Education Network, a nonprofit corporation located in Indianapolis, Ind. At Strada, he supported innovative student success and career development efforts nationally focused on faculty development, diversity, equity and inclusion and teaching and learning. He also was the inaugural vice president for Student Success and Enrollment Management at Kentucky State University where he managed the co-curricular and holistic development of students. There, he led efforts that resulted in increased student enrollment and retention, and built partnerships with businesses such as Toyota Corporation that provided paid internship, mentorship, and job opportunities for students.
Dr. Esters served as vice president for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ (APLU) Office for Access. Demonstrative of his entrepreneurial leadership skills, he has developed partnerships between higher education institutions and private and federal agencies, and with institutions internationally in an effort to build student recruitment, study abroad, and research capacity. He has managed a portfolio of over $17 million in grants to higher education institutions nationally and has secured over $3 million in funding, including to support the development of the APLU Minority Male Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative, an effort designed to incentivize partnerships between two- and four-year institutions toward increasing the numbers of minority males who pursue STEM careers.
Prior to his arrival at APLU, he served as senior advisor to the President of Dillard University in New Orleans, La. He has over ten years of experience as a career federal employee including serving as management and program analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Esters’ scholarly publications examine entrepreneurial leadership in community colleges, equity, access, and completion in higher education. He has served as adjunct professor of English at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., and at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. He is the former vice chair of the Board of Trustees at Northern Virginia Community College and has served on the Board of Directors for Democracy Federal Credit Union. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Martin University located in Indianapolis, Ind.
Dr. Esters earned his undergraduate degree in English literature from Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. He earned his MA in English from Jackson State University and holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration/Community College Leadership from Morgan State University. He is the grandson of sharecroppers from the Mississippi Delta and is the first person in his family to graduate from college.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree.