Lynda Villanueva

2023-24 Aspen Presidents Fellow
Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Lee College’s 10th president, is the third woman and the first Hispanic to lead the college in its 89-year history. Lynda believes a strong campus culture is built around valuing individual contributions and caring for everyone’s well-being. As a leader, she builds high-performing teams based on trust and transparency, driven by data and core values. Her primary core value is success for all students, regardless of their background.

Under Lynda’s leadership, Lee College is innovating and evolving to meet the needs of its students and community. The college implemented the First Time Free at Lee Program as the cornerstone of a post-pandemic recovery plan, which resulted in the highest recorded enrollment in the college’s history. Lee College also received a $5 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and established the Student Resource and Advocacy Center to address unmet basic needs. Under her leadership, Lee College was chosen to be a member of the Achieving the Dream Racial Equity Leadership Academy, resulting in the creation of the college’s first Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Lynda is an alumna of the inaugural Aspen Presidential Fellowship Program, a member of the Achieving the Dream Community College Women Succeed advisory group and the Student-Parent Families at the Center Leadership Council. She holds numerous board positions, including the United Way of Greater Baytown Area & Chambers County, the Baytown Chamber of Commerce, the Community College Research Center, the Houston Port Economic Alliance, the Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, and the Baytown Rotary Club.

She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado State University, a master’s in psychology from the University of Houston, and a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Houston.