Dr. Charles W. Lepper has had an extensive career in higher education with more than 25 years of leadership experience at universities and community colleges.
Before becoming Grand Rapids Community College’s 11th president in 2023, Dr. Lepper served as vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Salt Lake Community College, which serves more than 60,000 students across 10 campuses.
As a creative and innovative leader focused on student support and success, Dr. Lepper developed the SLCC Promise, which has provided more than $5 million in free tuition since 2016. He helped lead SLCC’s Guided Pathways program and re-engineered the college’s admissions, advising, and financial aid processes. Concurrent enrollment increased by 12% over a two-year period.
Under his leadership, the college’s Division of Student Affairs established four food pantries and SLCC’s Dream Center, which assists undocumented students. He established a “Student in Crisis Fund” during the pandemic that distributed more than $500,000 in private donations.
Dr. Lepper also established SLCC’s Gender and Sexuality Student Resources Center, one of the many reasons Campus Pride Index recognized the college as the most affordable LGBTQ+ Friendly College in the nation in 2021
Prior to his time at SLCC, he served as the vice president for Student Affairs at Tidewater Community College, multicampus institution in southeast Virginia.
He also held leadership positions at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, serving as the statewide assistant vice president and assistant vice provost for Student Development Services, the statewide director of Faculty Development and Student Life Initiatives, and the system’s institutional liaison to the Higher Learning Commission.
Dr. Lepper earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources and Personnel Management from Ball State University, a Master of Education in Secondary, Higher, and Adult Education from Grand Valley State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Foundations from Indiana State University.
He also attended and completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University in 2017 and a earned a professional development certificate in Trauma and Resilience from Florida State University in 2021.