Dr. Vincent June, Chancellor of South Louisiana Community College (SLCC), joins Discover Lafayette to discuss his mission to provide educational opportunities to all people, no matter their age or background.
Dr. June provides oversight for all academic and operational functions of SLCC’s nine campuses in eight parishes, serving more than 17,000 students annually.
Before joining SLCC, Dr. June served diverse communities in public higher education for over two decades, including Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida A&M University and Georgia Perimeter College.
He earned a degree in business and economics from Florida A&M University, and an MBA and Ph.D. in educational leadership from Washington State University.
South Louisiana is a natural fit for Dr. June. He was born in Belle Glade FL, near Lake Okeechobee, an agricultural area of Palm Beach County, Florida. Farmers grew sugar cane, corn, beans, celery, oranges, and tangerines, and there was also fishing. “It was a one-stoplight community.”
Dr. June was fortunate to come from a background of educators. His grandmother, one of thirteen children, was an adult education schoolteacher, and that is actually how she met Dr. June’s grandfather, who originally came to Florida from Jamaica to cut sugarcane. Both parents were educators.
Always thinking he would be a dentist, he was a biology major until he took a class in economics which deeply captured his interest. A professor encouraged him to change course and he switched to economics and Spanish studies.
Dr. June says he stumbled on the community college career path and his career journey has provided experience in all areas of higher education including student life, financial aid, admissions, and enrollment services.
“I came to embrace the access mission of the community college. It provides a rich and deep experience and you’re exposed to so many different levels of student-types. In a comprehensive community college, there is an avenue for everyone: individuals who don’t have a high school diploma, those who want a technical background, as well as those who want an associate’s degree and then move on to a traditional four-year institution.” Photo by Brad Kemp of the Acadiana Advocate.
SLCC is actively shifting its training opportunities to meet education and business trends. With a new strategic plan in place, the college is examining the programs that may need to be added to meet demands in fields such as nursing, welding, general studies, HVAC, automotive, commercial truck driving, and culinary arts. They are identifying optimal times to offer programs, including evening and weekend hours, to accommodate students who work full-time. Business developers in the Workforce and Corporate division of the college seek out business advice on programming that meets current workforce demands.
COVID has ushered in a plethora of funding sources to help students meet their tuition, including the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, a Louisiana initiative called “Reboot Your Career” which provides retraining for people in as short a period as 8 to 12 weeks, and the MJ Foster Promise Program created in honor of Louisiana’s late governor Mike Foster.
SLCC stands out among its peers nationwide. Recently, The Aspen Institute named SLCC one of the 150 institutions (out of over 1000 nationally) eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. This is the second year in a row SLCC has been named a Top 150 Community College.
In addition, SLCC was awarded a $1.16 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education under the agency’s TRiO Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program, a five-year federal grant focused on providing college admissions and support services to underserved populations within the southern region of the college’s service area. The program will predominately serve the rural populations of Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes beginning November 1, 2021.
We thank Dr. Vincent June for sharing his passion for educating our community in ways that help real people. We also thank his partner, Lana Fontenot, Executive Director of SLCC Foundation, for her tireless efforts to provide funding for the college’s students and programming!
Please visit https://www.solacc.edu/ for more information on the many programs offered by South Louisiana Community College. Consider this formidable and successful educational avenue for yourself, your family, and your friends.