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Lakeland University promotes VP to be 18th president

Lakeland University promoted Executive Vice President Dr. Beth Borgen in October to be the institution’s 18th president. Borgen becomes the first female to lead the institution in its 158-year history. Her selection was made by Lakeland’s Board of Trustees following a national search. Borgen replaces Dr. David Black, who is retiring.

A first-generation college graduate who earned her Master of Business Administration from Lakeland in 2011, Borgen has led dramatic growth in Lakeland’s fundraising efforts, as well as implementation of the university’s award-winning Cooperative Education program in her 15 years at Lakeland.

“Change is constant, especially at a place like Lakeland,” Borgen said. “We are well positioned for the future thanks to our innovation, creative problem solving, and collaboration, and I am prepared to make sure those strategies will continue to be part of our story.

“We will continue to grow our Cooperative Education program and student-run business venture, and we will also expand our relationships with the technical college system as we position Lakeland as a school of choice.”

Borgen has played a significant role in building relationships with community stakeholders and employers. She led Lakeland through the creation of its current strategic plan, which prepares to position the institution for declines in student populations by the middle of this decade that will challenge all institutions of higher learning.

She recently led a task force to fully implement Lakeland’s Co-Op program, which for the last three falls has generated three of the largest incoming first-year classes in Lakeland’s history.

Borgen’s tenure begins as Lakeland readies for a $26 million investment in its main campus, funded by a $35.4 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development division. Lakeland will construct two new residence halls to serve first- and second-year students, the largest investment in the main campus in the institution’s history.