By Charlotte Caldwell
PIQUA – Newly renovated classroom 113 in the Robinson Student Career Center and West Hall at Edison State Community College was named “The Doreen & Len Larson Workforce Development Classroom” at a chamber of commerce Business After Hours event on April 26.
Many chambers of commerce in the area were involved in the event, including Piqua, Preble County, Sidney-Shelby County, Tipp City and Troy.
The room is named after former Edison State President Doreen Larson and her husband, Len, and the innovative leadership approach provided during her tenure. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) from the U.S. Department of Education funded the renovations. The architecture was designed by the Oregon Group in Dayton and the contractor was Westerheide Construction Company in Sidney.
During the event, Sidney Mayor Mardie Milligan presented a proclamation declaring April 26 Dr. Doreen Larson Day in Sidney, and her husband, Edison State Board Member Dr. Thomas Milligan, presented Doreen and Len with two woodworking gifts made by Ryan Heitmeyer – the owner of Heitmeyer Woodworks LLC in Sidney – who happened to be Len’s woodworking protégé.
Mardie explained in the proclamation that Doreen joined the college on July 1, 2015, as the first female president and fifth overall. Among other accomplishments during her career, she was the longest-serving member of the American Association of Community Colleges and named to the Dayton Business Journal’s list of 50 most powerful women in the Dayton area four years in a row. She also won the Piqua YMCA’s Diversity Champion Award in 2019.
“Under Dr. Doreen Larson’s leadership, Edison State Community College became the first community college in Ohio to serve as a registered apprenticeship sponsor, expending apprentice positions into banking, insurance, firefighting, and EMT paramedic, along with traditional manufacturing and engineering positions,” the proclamation said. “Dr. Doreen Larson brought an undeniable energy to Edison State Community College with unprecedented enrollment growth, business and community partnerships, workforce development, student retention and completion and employee satisfaction.”
Current Edison State President Christopher Spradlin – who entered the role on Jan. 1, 2023, when Doreen announced her retirement a few months prior – provided remarks during the event, as well as Assistant Dean Brandi Olberding and Board of Trustees Chairman James Oda.