The Lakin Institute is a national professional growth program sponsored by the Presidents’ Round Table of African American CEOs of Community Colleges. The Institute offers a personal and professional growth experience for selected people who have shown a capability for broader leadership roles in community colleges’ existing or future responsibilities.
The Institute is intended to prepare senior-level executives for roles as community college chief executive officers. It has graduated the highest number of African Americans who have gone on to CEO positions over any other leadership institute in the United States. Notably, over twenty-five percent of current African-American community college presidents are alumni of the Lakin Institute.
The Lakin Institute’s outstanding faculty is made up of current and former members of the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors, current community college CEOs, as well as trustees and staff of the Association of Community College Trustees. The Institute’s faculty mentors and shares their knowledge with participants, motivating them to reach their full potential.
The Lakin Institute features both formal and informal opportunities to experience collegial and open dialogues. It focuses on preparation for hiring processes (including mock interviews), strategic planning, financial development, Board relations, creating a vision, consensus-building, bargaining, and others. Furthermore, participants learn personally from people who have been successful and are ready to share their experiences and lessons learned about great leadership.
Dr. Lakin graduated from the Los Angeles public school system in the early 1960s. He furthered his education at UCLA, earning his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in higher education administration. He worked as a counselor in the Los Angeles community college system and as vice president for instruction at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, a school that grew into a jewel in the heart of south-central Los Angeles—thanks to his dedication and leadership. Dr. Lakin was named president of Los Angeles Southwest College in 1986 and then Chancellor of the Ventura Community College District.
He died in 1994 after a brief illness.
Dr. Lakin is quoted as having said, “I was profoundly driven as a young adult, as a young parent and as a young black person to forever seek out people of goodwill and to persistently seek social justice. To this end, I have committed my life.” Thomas Lakin recognized that an African American leader in higher education could achieve anything.
He had a sense for spotting talent, knew how to bring out the best in his subordinates and coworkers, and went above and beyond to assist people with their career goals. In his first college cabinet, he hired ten people from all backgrounds and with various skills. Within five years, every single one of those ten people who wanted it had been promoted.
He possessed an inexhaustible thirst for hard labor and the energy to match it. Lakin is known to have said to a colleague who lamented the possibility of becoming forty years old before completing his doctorate, “How old will you be if you don’t get the degree?.” He could get to the center of an issue, clarify it, identify the answers, and never doubt the goals’ reachability
The Lakin Institute has a competitive selection process. All participants are to report to the current organization’s most senior officer and be prepared to take on the CEO role or an equivalent one in their next position. Nevertheless, experience is not limited to community college; it might also include university, government, business, or other organizational expertise.
All applicants should:
By participating in the Lakin Institute, you have an excellent opportunity to build and refine your leadership skills. After completing the Institute, each mentee can be paired with a mentor to explore further in-depth studies of their leadership skills. The Institute’s faculty consists of seasoned and well-known CEOs, aiming to help ordinary administrators become remarkable leaders.