Heather Bigard

2021-22 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Dr. Heather Bigard is a transformational leader with an expansive career in higher education focused on strategic planning, enrollment management, program and resource development, and institutional improvement at both public and private institutions.

An Illinois native and first-generation college student, she began her higher education journey at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, and later transferred to Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, earning a bachelor of business administration in accounting and finance. She served as the chief financial and operations officer at Springfield College-Benedictine University while completing a master of science in management and organizational behavior from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. During that time, she led program improvement and expansion initiatives that culminated in a merger between the two institutions.

She later assumed the role of vice president of administration and finance at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, and led another transformation that resulted in enrollment growth, facility improvements, and fiscal sustainability. Dr. Bigard holds a doctorate of education in higher education and organizational change. Her passion for expanding access to education, improving student success through intervention and innovation, and building high-performing teams continues to be the focus of her work as the provost and executive vice president of Lake-Sumter State College, a public community college in Central Florida.

Dr. Bigard is actively engaged in local and legislative affairs, developing community partnerships for program expansion, having served as the chair of the Florida College System Council of Business Affairs and serving as a board member of the LifeStream Behavioral Center.