President Knight’s retirement saluted
By Maddy Warren
Editor In Chief
Dr. Brent Knight started as president of LCC in 2008. Now after 12 years in the position, he is set to retire next month.
“The college is a wonderful college and I have had the privilege to have been the president here for 12 years,” Knight said. “To know the good faculty and staff that work here, and to watch the hundreds of students (who) cross the stage every year, is again a privilege.”
A surprise parade was held to celebrate Knight’s retirement and bid him farewell Friday, June 12. The 15-minute parade proceeded down Capitol Avenue in front of Knight’s LCC residence. It included LCC vehicles and an ice cream cart, as well as employees and business leaders.
“It was a total surprise,” Knight said. “I was very surprised and delighted with all of the people who came to say goodbye to me. That was really great (and) special. I’ll always remember that.”
Executive Vice President Dr. Lisa Webb Sharpe, who attended the parade, credited Knight as being a transformative leader for LCC.
“Not only in raising (LCC’s) profile locally, regionally and nationally, but in really making sure that the college is well managed and is a leader in categories like technical careers, so that’s been very important,” Webb Sharpe said.
She acknowledged the college’s achievements under Knight’s leadership, including: physical changes to learning and working spaces on campus; improving the budget and finances; starting the Early College; expanding dual enrollment; and strengthening relationships with labor partners and the arts community.
“Everyone in the region knows about LCC and can be proud of LCC,” Webb Sharpe said.
Knight’s career ended differently than he previously imagined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It didn’t go the way I thought it might,” Knight said. “I had kind of an image of a glide path and saying goodbye to people, places and things one last time, but that did not happen that way.
“Whenever the pandemic began – and people quit meeting – that was the last time I would see many people and so I regret that. I wanted to thank them for their years of service and collaborating with me.”
Knight said his plans for retirement are still in the process of being finalized due to the pandemic.
“I think I’ll try to cocoon until perhaps the end of the calendar year and maybe then I can make some plans to do some other things,” he said. “My first plan is to avoid the virus.
“I assume I’ll come back once a year to visit just to walk around, but that remains to be seen.”
Webb Sharpe said the parade for Knight was heartwarming and fun.
“It brought tears to my eyes because he is going out; he’s leaving the college in this very unusual circumstance of the pandemic,” she said. “But people at the college really wanted to let him know how much they appreciate his time and what he has done here at the college, his leadership and that they will miss him.
“It was great to be able to stand there and watch him be as excited as the people driving in the parade … I know it meant a great deal to him.”
Webb Sharpe added she will miss Knight a lot.
“He has been a great leader, mentor and partner in helping to make LCC what it is today,” Webb Sharpe said.
Knight is set to retire July 19. Dr. Steve Robinson, current president of Owens Community College in Ohio, was chosen by the LCC Board of Trustees to succeed him.
“(Robinson) has wonderful credentials and I know he’s delighted to come to Lansing and be the president of Lansing Community College,” Knight said. “I think we are all very hopeful that the college can continue its trajectory.”