Panelists Announced for 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture

Expert panel discussion to follow virtual presentation by Broward College president, Gregory Haile, J.D.

September 17th, 2021 (Raleigh, N.C.) –– NC State’s College of Education and Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research announce Dr. Pamela Senegal, Lee D. Lambert, J.D. and Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke as panelists for the 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture.

The annual lecture, which honors W. Dallas Herring – a pillar of the North Carolina Community College system – invites industry leaders to address critical issues facing community colleges. This year, Broward College president Gregory Haile, J.D., will lead the conversation with a presentation titled Redefining Access: The Power of Proximity.

Immediately following his address, our esteemed panelists will join the conversation for a discussion focused on the challenges of the current community college access model, and the importance of reimagining higher education access for all. Senegal, Lambert and Cooke will also briefly discuss their experiences and answer questions from the virtual audience as a part of this interactive session.

Learn about our panelists:

Dr. Pamela Senegal is president of Piedmont Community College in North Carolina. A lifelong educator, she brings more than 20 years of higher education leadership, business experience and community service to her position. She is dedicated to community involvement, including service on the Economic Development Commissions for Person and Caswell counties, the Person Memorial Hospital Board and Foreign Trade Zone #93 Board, among others. Senegal also recently completed the Aspen New President’s Leadership Fellowship program for 2020-21. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish, master’s degree in public administration and her doctorate in adult and community college education from NC State. 

Lee D. Lambert, J.D. is chancellor of Pima Community College in Arizona. Throughout his career, he has been an innovator, connecting industry and community colleges to revitalize communities through educational opportunity in an age marked by rapid technological and demographic change. An advocate for community colleges, Lambert firmly believes that they are uniquely positioned to address systemic educational and economic inequity. He received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. and Juris Doctor degree from Seattle University School of Law. 

Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke is superintendent and president of MiraCosta Community College District in California. A community college educator and administrator since 1993, and a president since 2007, Cooke is a collaborative and innovative leader with a deep commitment to the comprehensive community college mission. In 2016, Cooke was recognized as San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business and the NAACP Salute to Women of Color. In 2019, she was named in the San Diego Top 500 list and in 2020, was recognized as the chief executive officer awardee for the Pacific region by the American Association of Community College Trustees. Dr. Cooke is an active member of the greater San Diego community and serves on numerous local and national boards. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and a teaching certificate from American University and her doctorate in biology at Georgetown University. 

The 2021 Dallas Herring Lecture will take place virtually on Tuesday, November 16 from 1-3 p.m. EST. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please register online.

About the Dallas Herring Lecture

A Rose Hill, N.C. native, W. Dallas Herring made it his life’s work to build a system that would serve all of North Carolina’s residents by preparing them for productive work and active citizenship. Beginning in 1955, he served on the North Carolina State Board of Education for almost 25 years, during which he oversaw the development of a statewide system of technical education institutes that eventually became the North Carolina Community College System. Since 2015, the annual Dallas Herring Lecture has focused on national issues contextualized to North Carolina, inviting top community college leaders to speak on urgent and emerging topics, framing how to address the issues and proposing a path forward. The impact of the event has grown exponentially over the past several years, and has helped to elevate issues related to community colleges and led to action to address such issues in North Carolina.

About the Belk Center

The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, at North Carolina State University, develops and sustains exceptional community college leaders who are committed to advancing equitable college access and student success, the social and economic mobility of their colleges’ students, and the economic competitiveness of their regions. The Center provides professional development and research related to current and emerging student success opportunities and challenges facing community college leaders and policymakers in North Carolina and the nation. For more information, please visit

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.