Larson to retire from Edison State Community College

PIQUA – Dr. Doreen Larson, president of Edison State Community College, will be retiring in June 2023 after serving the college for almost seven years.

Larson celebrated her retirement following the State of the College event on Oct. 12 where faculty, staff, and community members honored her work at the college.

She received her Ph.D. in special education from Kent State University; a Master’s of Arts degree in education from John Carroll University; and a bachelor’s degree in special education from Cleveland State University, Summa Cum Laude.

Larson has a vast background in education at multiple colleges and universities. She began her career in higher education with an interest and passion of helping individuals with disabilities obtain a college degree. She was able to do this at Lakeland Community College where she worked to create an office to serve students with disabilities. From that, she expanded her passion to helping anyone get a college degree.

At Edison State, Larson helped implement multiple programs that aid individuals from a variety of backgrounds to enroll and continue their education.

“There shouldn’t be a reason people are unable to go to college,” said Larson. “A college should aim towards helping any and all students attend.”

Larson went on to describe how colleges can create barriers for students attending then how Edison State attempts to overcome those barriers.

She also served as the vice president of student affairs at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts. Following this, Larson was the president of Pierpont Community and Technical College in West Virginia before serving at Edison.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Edison State was able to maintain their enrollment, which according to Larson was not a common thing among colleges and universities. They were able to do this by providing “quality online education” then adapting to provide a hybrid experience for those that learn better in person.

She enjoys spending time with the students through programs and events, such as “Pizza with the President” and athletic events.

Under her leadership, Edison State Community College expanded two new locations, including Troy. The college has consistently seen increases in enrollment as well. The college has created new programs and degrees including agribusiness and veterinary technician.

Larson believes a college president should be involved in the “face, focus, and funding,” of the college; they should be the face of the college, the first impression. A college president should decide the focus or plan for the college, and finally, they should be responsible in finding the funding for the college and all its programs.

For four years in a row, 2016 through 2019, Larson was recognized by the Dayton Business Journal in the “50 Most Powerful Women” for the Dayton area. She was also elected to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors from 2015 to 2018.

Larson said she decided to retire because her “energy levels are not deserving to the college,” after she discussed the importance of a college president giving everything to their job.

To enjoy her retirement, she and her husband plan to move to West Virginia and build a house from scratch. They currently rehabilitate houses in their spare time. Larson will also provide some enrollment coaching to other colleges once she retires. She is also really looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren.

Larson said she will miss having the opportunity to gain new knowledge from her colleagues at the college. She mentioned how her colleagues will provide random facts and information which she enjoys.

“I know I can look it up at home and get facts that way, but it’s just different hearing it from my faculty,” said Larson.

Taking over the president position will be Chris Spradlin. To Spradlin, Larson said, “It’s going to be fun to see what you do. You should always be having fun with this job.”

Larson thanked the trustees for their support. She also thanked the faculty and staff for always having her back and supporting the students.