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Dr. Laurie Chesley

Dr. Laurie Chesley is the sixth president in Central Oregon Community College’s 70-year history. Her tenure began in July of 2019.

Prior to joining COCC, Chesley was provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan. Her administrative and leadership experience spans 18 years and includes both two- and four-year colleges. Chesley served as interim dean of learning at Northwestern Michigan, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Ferris State (Michigan) University, dean of humanities at Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Community College, and associate dean and dean of arts and sciences at Grand Rapids Community College.

A first-generation college graduate, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Alma College. She went on to receive her master’s and doctorate degrees (her dissertation examined the portrayal of women in the work of Daniel Defoe) in English at the University of Notre Dame, where she met her late-husband, Brent. Chesley taught English at a variety of higher education institutions for 14 years, including five years of full-time teaching at Northwestern Michigan College.

A recipient of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Faculty Excellence Award and a past winner of the Michigan Chapter of the American Council of Education Network’s Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award, Chesley is passionate about mentoring the leaders of tomorrow.

Born in Michigan, she’s a fan of classic cars, traveling and cycling.

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