Posted: May 19, 2003

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James H. McCormick said today he will recommend that the Board of Trustees appoint Terrence Leas as president of Riverland Community College in Albert Lea and Austin.

Leas, 53, is dean for student services of Yakima Valley Community College in Yakima, Wash., and dean for the college's Grandview campus. Leas was one of four finalists whose names were forwarded by a 13-member search committee headed by Anoka-Ramsey Community College President Patrick Johns. The chancellor's recommendation will be considered by the system's Board of Trustees at its meeting Wednesday. If approved by the board, Leas would begin serving as president July 14.

"Dr. Leas' extensive community college experience in a multi-campus environment and his strong leadership skills make him an excellent choice as president for Riverland Community College," McCormick said.

Leas has served in his present position since 2001 and from 1999-2001 was the dean for basic skills and instructional effectiveness as well as dean for the Grandview campus. He has held the Grandview campus deanship since 1991 and came to the college in 1990 as associate dean for the campus, then called the Lower Valley Educational Center.

Previously, he was executive assistant to the president of Thomas College, a private community college in Thomasville, Ga., from 1986-88. For the five years prior to that, he held various administrative positions at the college. He began his career as a middle school social sciences teacher in Thomasville, Ga.

Leas received his doctorate in higher education administration from Florida State University and holds a master's degree in educational administration and supervision from Valdosta State College in Georgia and a bachelor's degree in social science education from Florida State University.

Yakima Community College, with campuses in Yakima and Grandview, enrolls more than 12,000 full- and part-time students annually. The college has been designated as a "Hispanic serving institution;" 51 percent of the Grandview campus students are Hispanic.

"With his track record of outreach, I am confident he will establish strong links to the communities that will enable Riverland Community College to serve the region's evolving education and training needs," McCormick said.

Riverland Community College is a comprehensive community and technical college that serves 4,825 students annually in credit courses at campuses in Austin and Albert Lea and at Owatonna College & University Center. The college's interim president is James R. Davis.