Lisa Castillo Richmond

Letter from Partnership for College Completion Executive Director Lisa Castillo Richmond

As I begin my second year as the Partnership’s Executive Director, I feel deeply grateful to lead the organization into its sixth year fighting for a higher education system that puts our students—every one of them—first. Together this past year, the PCC team collaborated with policy partners, our ILEA colleges and universities, state governing agencies, researchers, and others to bring our state and our institutions closer to cultivating and maintaining an environment where students who have been historically minoritized have what they need to begin, persist through, and complete their degrees. We’re feeling the momentum starting to build and we are ready for the considerable work ahead of us this year.

Our team is digging in as a partner and advocate, examining and evaluating our impact, and being strategic in our growth. We’re continuing to build organizational capacity in targeted areas to deepen and expand our work on current initiatives and understand what’s needed on the ground now to advance institutional efforts to equitably and effectively serve students. We are also thoughtfully pursuing new opportunities for impact that will further support the Partnership in realizing our vision that equitable opportunities to access and complete a college education will lead to greater degree attainment, racial equity, and socioeconomic mobility for Illinoisans – and economic growth for our state.

The many actions our growing team will take are critical—from supporting our ILEA partners in achieving their goals to eliminate racial and income-based inequities on their campuses in the aftermath of the pandemic, to building PCC’s support model for implementation of the Developmental Education Reform Act at the state and institutional level, to serving more colleges and universities, to building a movement to develop and pass legislation for an Equitable Funding Formula for Illinois’ public universities, to investing in our organizational infrastructure for PCC’s continued excellence far into the future. None of these efforts, nor the many others we will pursue this year are possible without you – our steadfast supporters, partners, funders, and colleagues who care as deeply as we do about removing longstanding barriers in higher education so that every student can enroll, persist, and complete their college education.

We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working with you this year and to sharing our progress along the way as we use policy and advocacy, institutional equity change, and data and research in service of eliminating college completion disparities and increasing the number of college graduates here in Illinois.

In partnership for equity,