By: Carter James
Warren Bennis stated that “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” This quote exemplifies the life and career that Dr. Adena Williams Loston has had thus far. From a small town in Mississippi, Texas, Dr. Loston has had a unique journey that has transformed the lives of many.
It was on March 1, 2007, when Dr. Loston became the 14th president of St. Phillips College. She attended a historically black college, Alcorn State University, and graduated in 1973 with her Bachelor’s in Science. In 1974 and 1979, she obtained her Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Bowling Green State University. In addition, in 1996, she attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University, the Oxford Roundtable at Oxford University in 2001, and the Wharton School of Business in 2005.
It was noted that Dr. Loston has held various positions in her career. She previously served as the Director of Education and Special Assistant for Suborbital and Special Orbital Projects Directorate for the Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility and Chief Education Officer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at its Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In September 2002, she served as the NASA Administrator’s Senior Education Advisor and was responsible for different areas such as policy direction, functional management, and so much more. She also oversaw a $240 million budget and directed policy for $1.3 billion.
She has also held various roles within the educational field. She was previously the President of San Jacinto College South, an Executive Dean Provost in the El Paso Community College District, Dean of Vocational Education, Budgets and Facilities, and Dean of Professional Programs at Santa Monica College. Her knowledge coupled with her educational background has made her into an exceptional leader and has helped pave the way for future leaders to come.
Dr. Loston has served as the President of St. Phillip’s College for 15 years. St. Phillip’s College was founded in 1898 and aims to serve and empower a diverse student population by preparing their students for life after college. The institution “is one of our nation’s only historically Black college and Hispanic Serving Institution.”
According to their website, they “are one of the 10 Most Admired Universities and Colleges and Top 20 Community Colleges in Texas.” As of Fall 2020, the college served 12,696 students, and continues to grow. Based on the 2020 data, the demographics included African American (59.18%), White (22.16%), Hispanic (59.30%), Asian (2.13%), International (0.11%), and Other (4.90%).
Dr. Loston continues to serve the students at St. Phillip’s College with her best foot forward. It is her dedication and passion to education that keeps her motivated and focused to make sure that her students are reaching their fullest potential so they can be successful. In one of her President’s Message, she stated, “Student success, year-to-year persistence, and retention through to graduation are reliant on our ability to extend our influence beyond the classroom.”