By Emma Konn
When Marcia Ballinger accepted a job as director of Marketing/Recruitment and Media Relations in 1991 at Lorain County Community College, she didn’t know she would become the president at college.
“I fell in love with the mission of community college,” Ballinger, Ph.D., said while reflecting on her 30 years at LCCC. “It’s vital to tell the story of the importance of community colleges and the value of higher education.”
Ballinger, who took the reins of the college in 2016, received her doctorate in Community College Leadership from Walden University, an MBA from Kent State University, and a BA in Journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“My background in Journalism made it easier to communicate with others when I obtained my job in Marketing.”
After Ballinger became the vice president of Strategic and Institutional Development, she knew that she belonged in the community college circle. Ballinger not only evolved in her position as president but also took the college on an evolutionary path as well. Ballinger was at the forefront in creating University Partnerships at LCCC
“I created a vision that is now the University Partnership. I had to write up a concept paper, and then get it approved in the levy. After it was approved, I then enrolled as a student as well to take advantage of the University Partnership. Every student’s dream matters and the reason we, as faculty, exist because of our students.”
One of Ballinger’s goals is to have students obtain 10,000 degrees by 2025.
Ballinger relates to her students because she was a student and it, gives her an insight into the students’ world. Ballinger gives the advice that she followed herself by saying this, “I urge you to aim high, and truly pursue the dream that aligns with who you are.”
Ballinger is an inaugural member of the Aspen Institute’s Presidential Fellowship. Under her stewardship, LCCC became the first community college in Ohio to offer an applied bachelor’s degree program in MEMS (Micro Electromechanical Systems) in 2018. LCCC also garnered the top two national honors for excellence in student success awarded by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) as “First in the Nation for Excellence in Student Success” in 2018 and by Achieving the Dream, Inc. (ATD) as the Leah Meyer Austin Award recipient in 2020.
Her other accolades include recognition as a 2020 Crain’s Cleveland Business Power 150 Leaders in Northeast Ohio and the 2020 Pacesetter Award by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).