Institute Sponsors

Dr. Felicia GantherDr. Felicia Ganther Dr. Felicia Ganther
Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Maricopa County Community Colleges

Felicia Lorraine Ganther hails from Los Angeles, California. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Norfolk State University in Virginia. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

Currently, she is completing course requirements for a Ph. D. in Business Administration from Northcentral University of Arizona. Felicia has previously served in various capacities at both the university and community college levels; most recently as the Executive Director for Student Life at the College of Lake County in Illinois.

In addition to her work in student affairs, Felicia has also served as an Adjunct instructor for Speech, Interpersonal and Group communication courses. She also served as a certified mediator for the Center for Conflict Resolution Chicago. Felicia is active with regional and national level professional activities. She served as a Committee Chair for the Illinois Community College Chief Student Service Officers Association, president of the Skyway Athletic Conference as well as a member of the American College Personnel Association’s Community College learning community.

Felicia also works closely with initiatives developed through the NASPA Conference on College Men and the Midwest First Year Experience Conference. In addition to participating in national initiatives, Felicia has worked with Cengage Publishing to evaluate textbooks for first year courses at community colleges.

Felicia brings to the Maricopa Community College District extensive experience in Student Life, Crisis Management, Retention initiatives, Strategic Planning, Academic Quality Improvement and first-year student programs. She has received the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience’s National Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award as well as a Proclamation from the Illinois State Senate for her work with the retention of first year students. She has a passion for helping students reach their intended goals through crafting meaningful and intentional programs, services and initiatives.

Dr.Rufus GlasperDr.Rufus Glasper Dr. Rufus Glasper
Chancellor Emeritus of Maricopa County Community Colleges
CEO League of Innovations

Rufus Glasper, Ph.D, is the president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement.

The League hosts conferences and institutes, develops print and digital resources, and leads projects and initiatives with more than 800 member institutions representing nine different countries, over 160 corporate partners, and a host of other governmental and nonprofit agencies. In its continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities, the League is dedicated to improving student and organizational learning through innovation, experimentation, and institutional transformation.

Glasper is also chancellor emeritus of the Maricopa Community Colleges, one of the nation’s largest multi-college community college systems. He served as chancellor from 2003 through February 2016, and previously held district leadership positions for more than two decades.

Glasper served from 2009 to 2012 as the committee co-chair for the Lumina Foundation on Education "Getting AHEAD" Initiative, a comprehensive and collaborative initiative by Arizona’s education institutions, business community, and state government to reshape Arizona’s postsecondary education system and enable more residents to attain a college degree. From 2005 to 2009, Glasper served with then-governor Janet Napolitano as co-chair of the P-20 (pre-kindergarten through graduate school) Council.

Glasper is an active community member, serving on the boards of the Arizona Community Foundation, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, and the O’Connor Institute. He is also an emeritus member of Greater Phoenix Leadership.

Glasper earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) and a master’s and advanced degrees in school business administration from Northern Illinois University. He received his doctorate of philosophy degree in higher education finance from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Sonya PearsonDr. Sonya Pearson Dr. Sonya Pearson
NCSD President & Vice President of Student Affairs
Mesa Community College

Sonya brings more than 14 years of management and leadership experience in Student Affairs to MCC.

She has extensive experience in working with at-risk populations, family and adult literacy programs (Head Start, GED and ESL), migrant programs, disability services, enrollment services, and community programs. Sonya has worked as an adjunct professor, written grants, and served in advisory and management positions. She has vast experience working in multi-campus environments. Her last senior-level position was at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri.

She holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Walden University in Minneapolis and a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Sonya is also a former Licensed Professional Counselor in Oklahoma. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Taft Law School. Service to the community is Sonya’s personal mission.

In addition to her educational and work experience, she has been involved with the United Food Bank, Red Cross, Relay for Life, Special Olympics, Economic Security, Urban League, Department of Workforce Development, Martin Luther King Committee, Margaret Hudson Alternative School for Pregnant Teens, Boys Home Alternative School, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and United Way.

In 2011, Sonya was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award by the Women’s Leadership Group/American Association of Women in Community Colleges. Sonya is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and lives in the San Tan Valley.