Apr 11, 2013 4:46 PM by MELISSA CANONE
LAFAYETTE, La. - Dr. Natalie J. Harder was inaugurated as the fifth chancellor of South Louisiana Community College on Thursday afternoon.
"It will be a great pleasure and privilege for me to confer South Louisiana Community College's highest office upon Dr. Natalie Harder during her inauguration ceremony. She is committed to excellence in education and has earned the confidence of all who join her in this great cause," said Dr. Joe May, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Dr. Sandra K. Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, will serve as the ceremony's keynote speaker. Woodley, who became the eighth president of the UL System in January 2013, began her education at a community college.
The ceremony also included words of greeting from several dignitaries and special guests, including Lafayette City/Parish President Joey Durel, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rob Eddy, Jr., and Margaret Trahan, President/CEO of United Way of Acadiana.
"This is an exciting time to be at SLCC to lead the college into a new era. I'm truly fortunate to have such a dedicated staff, faculty, and administration," said SLCC Chancellor Dr. Natalie Harder. "With new construction, new programs, and new partnerships within the community, SLCC is poised for immense growth to ensure our students have the highest quality education and businesses in Acadiana have a talented pool of skilled workers."
"Inaugural ceremonies are a celebratory milestone in a college's life," said Dr. Jennifer Jackson, associate vice chancellor of institutional advancement and inauguration committee chair. "As much as this inauguration is about welcoming our new chancellor, it also includes celebrating our college and moving forward together with the community."
Harder, who was selected as chancellor after a national search, assumed the post inFebruary 2012. She succeeded Dr. Phyllis Dupuis, a longtime administrator of Acadiana Technical College and interim SLCC chancellor.
During Harder's first year, she oversaw the merger of SLCC and Acadiana Technical College, making this new comprehensive community college one of the fastest growing in Louisiana.
"Her leadership was crucial in the merger of SLCC and Acadiana Technical College in the summer of 2012-a strategic move which recognizes the important dynamism of the region," noted Dr. Ned Doffoney, SLCC's first chancellor who served from 1998-2002. "There's no doubt her guidance and foresight will be of great service to the community served by this venerable institution."
Prior to joining SLCC, she served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Va. Her past experience also includes serving as the Executive Director of the Erie Community College Foundation in Buffalo, N.Y.
Harder earned her doctorate in Community College Leadership from Old Dominion University. She holds a master's degree in Public Policy and Management from The Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor's degree in Economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She and her husband, Cian Robinson, have two sons.
For more information on the inaugural events, visit www.southlouisiana.edu/inauguration.
SLCC is a comprehensive community college with campuses in eight parishes. It is one of the largest community college in Louisiana with nearly 8,000 students enrolled and is a leader in training Louisiana's workforce. SLCC awards associate degrees, transfer degrees, technical diplomas and certifications. Students can choose from a variety of academic programssuch as criminal justice, emergency medical technology, industrial technology and midwifery. More than 30 technical programs are offered in areas including healthcare, business, nursing, welding, automotive repair and civil surveying.