Chancellor May to retire; Lonon appointed

Desiree Gutierrez, Editor-in-Chief

Dr Justin Lonon
Justin Lonon, executive vice chancellor of Dallas College, will succeed Chancellor Joe May as the next college chancellor. Photo courtesy of Dallas College.

The Dallas College chancellor title is undergoing a transition as Chancellor Joe May set his retirement date. May announced his retirement in a meeting with the Dallas College board of trustees May 14. May’s retirement will be effective Aug. 21, 2022.

“It has been an honor to serve as chancellor of this institution for the past seven years,” May said in a Dallas College press release. “Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of the Dallas College board of trustees and our employees, who are truly passionate about transforming lives through higher education.”

May is recognized as the first chancellor of the recently minted Dallas College. He led the unification of the seven Dallas County Community College District colleges into the merger of one college.

His career with DCCCD began in 2014 when May became the seventh chancellor, succeeding former Chancellor Wright L. Lassiter. Throughout his career May has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments including the creation of the Career Connected Learner Network, Dallas County Promise and the expansion of early college pathways.

“He understands the challenges that our students face and has led the creation of programs to reduce obstacles that may force them to choose between college or life’s necessities, including DART transportation passes, food pantries and emergency aid funds,” Monica Lira Bravo, board of trustees chair, said.

May set the foundation for Dallas College and his successor comes equipped with a resume which includes a history with DCCCD that began in 2005.

Justin H. Lonon was selected as the sole finalist for the Dallas College chancellor appointment by the Dallas College board of trustees.

“Dr. Justin Lonon is a passionate advocate for Dallas College students and employees and has been a driving force for the consolidation of our institution,” Lira Bravo said.

Lonon currently serves as the executive vice chancellor of operations and led the transition team through the consolidation of DCCCD. Brookhaveans may remember Lonon as interim president for then-Brookhaven College where he became a familiar face on campus in 2019.

Dr. Joe May
Chancellor Joe May will retire in 2022 after serving eight years as Dallas College chancellor. Photo courtesy of Dallas College

Lonon’s appointment was approved June 23 with a formal vote by the board of trustees after a state-required, 21-day waiting period.

“I am committed to continuing the ongoing work with students, faculty and staff to create a culture of impact, innovation and caring at Dallas College,” Lonon said.

This transition comes as Dallas College emerges as a newly unified college. The merger of the seven colleges makes Dallas College the educational institute of choice for over 150,000 students.

The consolidation of the seven colleges welcomes Lonon during a time of a global public health crisis, social unrest and economic turmoil.

This feat of donning the title of chancellor will be fitting given Lonon’s credentials and experience within his history with DCCCD. Lonon is credited with leading the development of Dallas College’s Early Childhood Baccalaureate program, the college’s first bachelor’s degree, and establishing the Office of Social Responsibility.

Dallas College welcomed students back to its campuses June 1. As students become reacquainted with life on campus, May will continue as chancellor through the 2021-2022 academic year. May and Lonon will work together through the transition until August 2022, when May’s retirement goes into effect.

“The board is confident that Dr. Lonon has the right experience, skills and vision to continue bridging the educational gap in Dallas County, making Dallas College a valued resource for students, community partners and employers,” Lira Bravo said. “We appreciate the continued leadership Dr. May will provide the institution and Dr. Lonon over the next year.”