LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College President J. Anthony Fernandez has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year after eight years at the helm. He made the announcement at a news conference on campus Tuesday.
“It’s been a privilege to serve as president of one of the finest institutions of higher education in the State and region,” said Fernandez, whose term will officially come to a close on June 17, 2018. The Idaho State Board of Education will begin its search for his successor immediately.
Fernandez became LCSC’s 15th president in March of 2011. He served as interim president in 2010 and as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs for former president Dene Thomas from 2003 to 2010.
Under his leadership the college has enjoyed steady growth in a number of areas including enrollment and its annual number of graduates. Thanks to three consecutive years of increases, including an 8 percent jump in headcount last fall, LCSC’s enrollment has grown by 26 percent since 2008 and it’s possible the school will surpass 4,000 students for the first time in its history this fall. And more students are reaching the finish line as LCSC has seen a record number of graduates in seven of the past nine years, including the past three.
“LCSC is a strong, vibrant college poised to do even greater things for our students and the region,” Fernandez said.
The impact of Fernandez’s legacy will be felt for years to come and will be especially apparent over the next few as LCSC plans to add a living and learning complex on campus and to construct a $20 million, 100,000-square-foot Career & Technical Education Center in the Lewiston Orchards, neighboring the future site of Lewiston High School. Fernandez played a lead role in bringing both projects to the table and is excited about their potential.
“Our students are outstanding and LCSC will continue to connect learning to life by helping them achieve their goals and become lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and leaders,” said Fernandez. “LCSC has a remarkable administrative team, faculty, and staff that will insure this.”
Prior to coming to LCSC, the 1970 graduate of California State College, Fullerton, earned his Ph.D. from Washington State University in plant pathology and served two years there as a post-doctoral research associate before becoming an assistant/associate professor of plant pathology at the University of Wyoming. In 1986, Fernandez accepted a faculty position in plant sciences at the University of Hawaii-Hilo and later became dean of the College of Continuing Education and Community Service. He then accepted the position of dean of Educational Technology and Continuing Education at Fort Hays State University in Kansas and later dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences.
Fernandez, 70, is married to Diane (pictured above), whom he met at WSU, and they have two sons, Joe and David, and two granddaughters, Sofie and Alexa.