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Date of Publication: 

Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr. Appointed Interim President of the University of the District of Columbia

WASHINGTON, DC - The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) Board of Trustees appointed Dr. James Earl Lyons, Sr. as the new Interim President effective March 20, 2013.  "Dr. Lyons brings an impressive academic history having served as president of three universities over the past three decades," remarked Dr. Elaine Crider, Chair of the Board of Trustees.  She went on to say "we are very fortunate to have Dr. Lyons join us at this important time and will certainly benefit from his extensive leadership experience."

As Interim President, Dr. Lyons will lead the University's efforts to chart a new vision and strategic direction that aligns closely with the District of Columbia's Economic Development Strategy.  "I have continually supported the University through my years as an educational leader in the neighboring state of Maryland, and feel honored to have this opportunity to serve as Interim President," said Lyons.  He further states, "The University of the District of Columbia plays a vital role in ensuring District residents have accessible and affordable higher educational options, and it is imperative that we have the career ladders they can rely on for workforce development and professional and advance degrees."

Dr, Lyons attended the University of Connecticut, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish in 1965, a master's in student personnel in 1971, and a Ph.D. in professional higher education administration in 1973.  Three years later, he attended the Harvard University Institute for Education Management, where he studied law, finance, affirmative action, accounting for non-profit organizations, personnel management, marketing and labor relations. 

In 1983, Dr. Lyons became president of Bowie State University in Maryland.  He served there until 1992, when he became president of Jackson State University in Mississippi. Then in 1999 he became president of California State University Dominquez Hills, where he served until 2007.  From March 2007 until December 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.

Dr. Lyons has served on numerous Boards and Committees including the American Council on Education; the National Institutes of Health’s Task Force on At Risk Drinking; the National Association of State College and Universities; the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the U.S. Dream Academy.

Dr. Lyons and his wife, Jocelyn, have three sons: Jack, Jamal and James, Jr.

A Press Conference has been scheduled for March 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia Van Ness Campus Building 39, Third Floor Board Room.

About The University Of The District Of Columbia

An HBCU, urban land-grant, and the only public university in the nation’s capital, The University of the District of Columbia is committed to a broad mission of education, research and community service.  Established by abolitionist Myrtilla Miner in 1851, the University of DC offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees and a host of workplace development services designed to create opportunities for student success.  The University is comprised of a Community College, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, and the David A. Clarke School of Law.  To learn more, visit

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University’s EO Policy Statement, please visit:

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - (267) 284–5000.