Dr. Heather Bigard, President of Lake-Sumter State College, has been awarded the 2023 Leadership Award from the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
The award, presented at the Chamber’s 86th Annual Installation Gala, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision in their field.
President Bigard’s recognition highlights her leadership and vision in expanding access to higher education throughout the community. Her transformative leadership at Lake-Sumter State College has focused on maximizing opportunities for learners and improving student success outcomes to transform lives and futures.
“I am honored to receive this award from the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Dr. Heather Bigard. “I believe that education is a transformational experience that equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to improve their lives, supporting economic growth and creating a better future for our entire community. I am proud to lead this great College and appreciate the support of our community.”
Throughout 2023, Lake-Sumter State College has marked significant accomplishments:
- Secured $17.5 million in funding from the State of Florida for the establishment of a state-of-the-art Workforce Development Center on the Leesburg Campus.
- Opened a new campus in the Four Corners area of South Lake County to expand access to an educationally underserved area of the county
- Record fall semester enrollment with over 5,250 students enrolled
- Launched the LakeWorks partnership with Lake Technical College to promote seamless career pathways and student achievement
- Committing to a new location in North Eustis for Lineworker and CDL training programs, in partnership with the City of Eustis
- Launching new academic programs including an AS in Medical Lab Technology and a certificate in Water Management
- Opened several academies for dual-enrolled high school students including a North Lake cohort for the Health Sciences Collegiate Academy, a Criminal Justice Early College Academy at Mount Dora High School, and an Engineering Technology Early College Academy for Sumter County students.
Additional programs to support the area’s workforce, including an AS in Building Construction Management and an AS in Respiratory Care Technology, will launch in early 2024.
“I’m looking forward to the exciting opportunities for Lake-Sumter State College in 2024,” says Dr. Bigard. “We will continue to transform the ways in which we connect with and educate our community.”
In addition, the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce announced its new 2024 Board of Directors, including Dr. Carol Tolx, LSSC Associate Vice President of Human Resources.