Dr. Irene Robles-Lopez

Pima Community College Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Irene Robles-Lopez is one of 40 U.S. community college leaders to constitute the 2020-21 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, a selective leadership program preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve greater and more equitable student success.  

The Rising Presidents Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July 2020. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the fellows will be mentored by esteemed current and former community college presidents who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students throughout their careers, and will learn strategies to improve student outcomes in and after college, lead internal change, and create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, employers, and other partners. 

“Evidence shows that substantial improvements in student success are achieved only when presidents have the commitment and skill needed to lead change within their institutions and through partnerships in the community,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program. “These fellows have been chosen because they embody that commitment and, we believe, will build their skills even further to become transformational presidents.” 

“Dr. Robles-Lopez has been an agent of transformational change at Pima,” Chancellor Lee D. Lambert said. “The College is proud of her achievements, and our students and community are sure to benefit from her participation in the Aspen fellowship.”

The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship responds to the growing need for a new generation of leaders well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of sitting presidents plan to retire in the next decade. While the traditional pathway to the presidency has excluded women and people of color, the incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is composed of 70 percent women and 61 percent people of color and represents institutions of varying sizes and locations.

Together, the 2020-21 fellows are leaders at colleges that collectively serve more than 500,000 students. As well, 42 Rising Presidents Fellowship alumni have become presidents of community colleges that collectively serve an additional 500,000 students nationwide.

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