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Leatherwood honored as Community College President of the Year

BRCC President Laura Leatherwood was named President of the Year by the State Board of Community Colleges. BRCC President Laura Leatherwood was named President of the Year by the State Board of Community Colleges.

The State Board of Community Colleges honored Blue Ridge Community College President Laura Leatherwood with its President of the Year Award, citing collaborative leadership and her record of forming successful partnerships with industrial recruiters, manufacturing plants and public schools.

Leatherwood came to Blue Ridge Community College in 2017 with extensive experience in workforce education and workforce development in western North Carolina. At Haywood Community College she served as Vice President of Student and Workforce Development prior to serving as Vice President of Student Services.

As president of BRCC, Leatherwood has created a collaborative workforce development relationship with community and economic partners. She believes strategic partnerships with area schools, economic development organizations and businesses are essential for building a pipeline of skilled professionals. Her accomplishments include partnering to recruit seven companies to Henderson County, spearheading campus construction projects and adding nine new healthcare offerings while launching three associate degree pathways in Human Services. Since she arrived, BRCC has added significant new technology across all operational and academic departments. Dr. Leatherwood recently partnered with the John M. Belk Endowment to launch a new initiative on adult learners, which resulted in significant enrollment increases this past semester.

“I can think of no one more deserving than Dr. Leatherwood for this recognition,” said Chip Gould, chairman of the Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees. “Under her leadership, Blue Ridge has defied enrollment trends, worked steadfastly to cultivate a qualified and highly trained workforce, and has remained a trusted partner to our workforce and economic development leaders. We are fortunate to have her here in our community.”

Leatherwood said: “There are so many collaborative partnerships within Henderson and Transylvania counties that make an impact in the lives of our students, our college and our community. I very much consider this honor a recognition of the hard work and support of many individuals. Without the support and hard work of our county leaders, economic development and workforce partners, our donors, and our faculty and staff here at Blue Ridge, this recognition would not have been possible.”