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James E. Lyons, Sr.

President Emeritus, California State University Dominguez Hills

Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr. has served in a number of administrative positions in higher education, including five university presidencies. Most recently he served as the interim president of both the University of the District of Columbia and Dillard University. From 2007 to 2010, he served as secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, where he helped to establish policies for Maryland’s public and private colleges and universities.

From 1999 to 2007, Lyons served as president of California State University Dominguez Hills, a Hispanic serving university, making him one of the first presidents to have served at the helm of both an HBCU and HSI. Prior to moving to California he served as president of Jackson State University, president of Bowie State University, vice president for academic affairs at Delaware State University, and vice president for academic affairs at Barber-Scotia College.

Lyons has served on numerous boards, commissions, and committees including the American Council on Education, National Institutes of Health’s Task Force on At Risk Drinking, US Dream Academy, and two Blue Ribbon Commissions reviewing higher education in Louisiana. Lyons currently serves as a member of the board of trustees of Dillard University and Alliant International University. He also served on the board of trustees of Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, now Philadelphia University.

Lyons attended the University of Connecticut, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a master’s in student personnel, and a Ph.D. in professional higher education administration. He has also attended the Harvard Institute for Education Management.

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