John J. “Ski” Sygielski Named New President of Mt. Hood Community College

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2008

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

MIDDLETOWN and WARRENTON, Va. – John J. “Ski” Sygielski was named the third president of Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) in August 2003. Almost five years later, his tenure at LFCC is coming to an end. On March 3, 2008, Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) in Portland, Ore., announced that Sygielski accepted the position of president and will begin on July 1, 2008.

"You can’t schedule golden opportunities — they arrive in your path. You pay attention, make decisions and resolve to do your best," Sygielski said. "Education is about transforming lives. LFCC has transformed my life, and I will always be grateful. As with any career move, there are always things you will miss about the position you are leaving. At LFCC, I will definitely miss the people – students who strive to succeed, instructors who are passionate about teaching, employees who are committed to helping others succeed, donors who want to make a difference, alumni who support the institution that gave them a start and elected officials who understand the impact that LFCC makes in our area."

In late December, MHCC invited Sygielski to apply for the presidency. "My decision to apply for this position was based on an opportunity for professional growth. This move does not reflect any discontent with LFCC or the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). Leading the College has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life."

Under Sygielski’s leadership, and with the assistance of dedicated and high-performance employees and board members, LFCC established a third location; implemented the College’s first sports program; increased community partnerships in support of economic, social and cultural activities; and enhanced the institutional image and public awareness of the College. He and his team also increased outreach to local high schools, resulting in a 25-percent increase in the number of dual-enrolled students; hosted an on-campus governor’s school; hired career coaches at high schools; constructed capital projects totaling more than $22 million; and reorganized the College’s Foundation and raised approximately $3.5 million to benefit students and employees. In addition, under his leadership, the College instituted new academic programs and increased enrollment; hosted numerous productive forums to address the changing demographics of the College’s service region; developed and enhanced mutually beneficial relationships with business, education and government leaders and organizations; and advanced the use of technology in the classroom. Furthermore, the president and his team increased pay for employees and served a greater percentage of businesses in the College’s service region than comparable workforce development programs at Virginia’s other community colleges.

All of these accomplishments were made possible because of Sygielski’s charismatic leadership, careful planning and successful interaction with students, employees, donors, alumni, economic development professionals, business leaders, elected officials and public school superintendents.

Sygielski is also active in the higher education, community college and local communities. During his tenure as president of the College, Sygielski was elected to the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors and asked by Virginia’s governor to serve on the Commonwealth’s Manufacturing Development Commission. In addition, he received the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction for Phi Theta Kappa and the Phil Sprenkle Vocation Award from the Winchester Rotary Club and was named Executive of the Year by a regional chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Sygielski is also a requested speaker, presenter, guest lecturer and writer. Recently, Sygielski co-authored an article titled "Why Community College Students Make Successful Transfer Students," which was published in the Journal of College Admission. Sygielski has also taught business management courses as a community college adjunct instructor. In addition, he has taught honors seminars every year he has been at LFCC.

Sygielski’s previous work experiences encompass corporate training; elementary, secondary and post-secondary education; and public- and private-sector consulting. In 1999, Sygielski was hired as the first vice chancellor for workforce development in the VCCS and was responsible for organizing and developing corporate training units within the state’s community college system. From 1990 until 1999, he developed a corporate training unit at the nation’s then largest single-campus community college (located outside of Chicago) in the United States. In 1997, while working for the community college in Chicago, Sygielski spent time in India helping to develop a community college in that country. Prior to 1990, Sygielski developed corporate training and technology transfer units for new lines of computer products at two Fortune 500 companies.

Sygielski holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, master’s degrees in education and business administration and a doctorate in education. His educational credentials are even more notable, because he is the only one in his working-class family to graduate from high school and college.


Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.