President Lindsay marks 10 years at AACC


Photo courtesy of Layla Koch-Thompson

President Lindsay marked her 10-year anniversary in August.

Dan Elson, Sports Editor

AACC President Dawn Lindsay marked her 10th anniversary at the college in August.

The second woman to serve as president of the college, Lindsay said her favorite moments have been at each year’s graduation ceremony.

“I have the unique opportunity when we’re not in COVID-19 mode to actually be with our students shaking hands and giving them their diplomas and the joy in their eyes, the tears, the smiles,” Lindsay said. “It just really touches my heart. And I enjoy this work because I know what we’re doing is empowering people to move forward.”

In fact, Lindsay, the college’s sixth president, said one of the challenges she overcame was leading the college through COVID-19.

“It changed the whole whole world as far as community colleges in two and a half years,” Lindsay said. “I’ll never forget March 13, 2020. We went on spring break. I did a video saying, ‘OK, [I’ll] see everybody back on April 6. We’re going to be gone for about two weeks.’”

The college was all but closed for three semesters after that.

In her first 10 years, Lindsay noted she is proud of the school’s “national reputation,” as ranking organization Academic Influence named AACC the top community college in the country.

Lindsay said she applied to become president of AACC in 2012 because “it was a winner of a college and I knew the reputation of Anne Arundel and I really wanted to be part of a winning team. And so there was nothing broken about this college when I arrived.”

Among her accomplishments, Lindsay hired James Felton III in 2015 as the first chief diversity officer at a Maryland community college. 

“I think another major initiative that has happened in the last 10 years [is] there’s been a diversity initiative and I’m very proud of the work that we’re doing” to help minority students and student veterans … to make sure that we’re meeting their needs and helping them successfully attain their goals,” Lindsay said. 

In the past year, the college added the 175,000-square-foot Health and Life Sciences building and the Clauson Center for Innovation and Skilled Trades.

Before her time at AACC, Lindsay was the president of Glendale Community College in California for five years. She also was a dean at Riverside Community College in California. 

Lindsay attended Pepperdine University in California, where she received her doctorate in organizational leadership. She earned her master’s degree in educational counseling and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and social work from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College.

Conor Curran, the student member on the Board of Trustees, said Lindsay has brought “bold leadership.”

“Dr. Lindsay’s leadership has been instrumental [in] leading this community college to be in such a great place,” Curran, a second-year secondary Spanish student, said.

Vice President for Learning Resources Management Melissa Beardmore agreed.

“She really cares about people and their success and success of our employees and the value of the college to the community,” Beardmore said.

Lindsay added her favorite day of the school year is the first day back to class.

Lindsay said new students “are kind of excited and very nervous at the same time and not necessarily knowing where the buildings [are] or what they’re required to do. That nervous but excited time that students have when they come on our campus at the beginning of the semester.”

Lindsay also noted it’s a “fantastic” feeling to be the president on the 60-year anniversary of the college.

“I have the best job in the world probably because I never have the same day two days in a row,” Lindsay said. … “I believe in our students [and] I believe that we have the ability to really help people get where they want to go, and being a part of somebody’s journey to helping them obtain whatever goal it is that they have.”

Lindsay said she plans to be the president of AACC until she retires—before her 20th anniversary, she said.