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Berquam to depart for senior leadership post at Arizona community college

June 4, 2019 By John Lucas

Following a successful year away from Madison on a prestigious national fellowship at the University of Arizona, former Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Life Lori Berquam has decided to follow a new career path that will keep her in the desert.

Berquam will formally retire from the UW to accept a position as executive vice president of academic and student affairs at Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, Arizona. The college has more than 20,000 students and is located outside of Phoenix.

Photo: Lori Berquam

Lori Berquam

Berquam spent the 2018–19 academic year on an American Council on Education Fellowship at University of Arizona in Tucson.

There, she had the opportunity to work with many local community colleges in building 2 + 2 programs for learners to obtain a bachelor’s degree after getting an associate’s degree at a local community college.

“This ignited a new passion in me, one of greater access to higher education,” Berquam says. “My time in Arizona has essentially laid the groundwork for a new direction. One thing I have learned is how valuable it is for people to obtain an education. A two-year degree can mean increased income, health care and security for a family.”

MCC is one of 10 community colleges in the Maricopa Community College District, serving over 100,000 learners annually. Berquam’s first day is July 29.

“It is important for me to put good into the world and offer access to those who want to obtain additional education,” she says. “I am passionate about the mission of the college and the impact we can have in the community.”

Berquam has worked in the former Division of Student Life since 2002 and served as dean and chief student affairs officer from 2007 to 2018.

During her decade in the deanship, Berquam was known for her fun-loving and quirky style that was showcased in student memes and videos. She also supported and advocated for students in countless difficult situations and crises. Berquam publicly shared and was supported by the UW community during a battle with cancer. She is now in remission.

Although she’s energized for her new role, Berquam says she will deeply miss her former colleagues and Madison.

“UW–Madison and the Division of Student Life will always hold a space in my heart. My Badger spirit will shine bright in the new role at MCC,” she says.

“The lessons I have learned from many of you on this journey will remain with me as I embark on the next chapter in my life. I am so grateful to have walked this earth with you, and I am a better person for having known you all.”

Related: Lori Berquam’s message to student life staff