Dr. Daniel J. LaVista has had a 40-plus year career in higher education, serving the full spectrum of academic and administrative positions — from English faculty member, theater director, division chairman for arts and humanities, academic dean, academic vice president, college president, and system chancellor — culminating as Chancellor for the Los Angeles Community College District (CA). LACCD is the nation’s largest community college district, serving over 200,000 students through its nine colleges, and as chancellor Dr. LaVista implemented a $6 billion bond construction program supporting the District’s commitment to student achievement enhanced by modern physical facilities.
He has had responsibility for curriculum expansion, faculty professional development, business education and training, collective bargaining and contract management. He has led the creation of realistic and aspirational vision statements, leadership training models, and strategic plans that put the student at the institutional center. He has promoted diversity at all levels. He has been active in campus leadership and state level politics, building relationships with state legislatures and lobbying for higher education funding. He has embraced fund-raising and supported the development of campus foundations.
He also served as head of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the state coordinating boards for higher education. In these positions he directed system-wide strategic planning and policy development for higher education and strengthened relationships between higher education and state government.
Dr. LaVista feels privileged to have served in these wide-ranging positions, giving him a unique perspective on the roles that diverse members of the community college community play in creating dynamic institutions. He is particularly grateful for the opportunity to promote the vital position community colleges have in the educational fabric of our country. He especially enjoys mentoring and supporting the next generation of leaders.
Specific appointments held by Dr. LaVista
- Community College of the Finger Lakes (NY) – faculty member in English and theater
- Lorain County Community College (OH) – Division Chair for Arts and Humanities
- Lakeland Community College (OH) – Academic Dean
- Cuyahoga Community College (OH) – Academic Vice President
- College of Lake County (IL) – President
- Community Colleges of Baltimore County (MD) – Chancellor
- McHenry College (IL) President
- Illinois Board of Higher Education – Executive Director
- State Council of Higher Education for Virginia – Executive Director
- Los Angeles Community College District (CA) – Chancellor
Dr. LaVista, a native of upstate New York, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Siena College (NY), a master’s degree in English from the University of Dayton (OH), and a Ph.D. in Speech and Dramatic Art from Syracuse University (NY). He also completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management.
Dr. LaVista and his wife, Rosemary, have two grown children and five grandchildren and live in Charleston, South Carolina.